U.S. Supreme Court to decide if it will hear Oklahoma's 'personhood' dispute
Videoview all videos
Oct 29Without comment, justices let stand a decision by the...
Photoview all photos
NewsOK Related Articles
The personhood proposal would define human life as beginning at conception and grant all rights, including those of equal protection and due process, to those meeting the definition. As drafted, the initiative petition said the proposal “generally prohibits abortion.”
Backers of the personhood proposal had sought to get signatures of about 155,000 registered voters to put the question on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Just as proponents began gathering signatures, six Oklahomans challenged the initiative petition, with the backing of the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the petition was “void on its face” and “clearly unconstitutional.”
“The United States Supreme Court has spoken on this issue,” Chief Justice Steven Taylor wrote.
“The states are duty bound to follow its interpretation of the law.”
Staver said the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1989 Missouri case upheld language in an abortion law declaring that life begins at conception since the language did not regulate abortion.
In that and subsequent cases, Staver argued in a brief, the high court has rejected the “wholesale facial invalidation of statutes that challengers claim might, in some instances, restrict abortion rights.”
Staver also has challenged the Oklahoma court's ruling on First Amendment grounds, saying the initiative petition was “core political speech” that deserved constitutional protection.
Kiesel, with the Oklahoma ACLU, dismissed Staver's argument, saying the personhood group “is trying to manufacture a federal question for the Supreme Court to latch on to.”
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 43037Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15155Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms drink in success of 'Hangover' series
- 9718Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 8776Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 8708Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 7875Rock, pop, country acts give talents and time to help Oklahoma tornado victims
- 7675Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena