Three weeks ago I wrote about the Personhood bill making its way through Oklahoma and how I felt about it. I mentally prepared myself for negative backlash and am happy to report that all the feedback I received was positive and uplifting. Thank you, that gave me hope.
Since that post I have had an interesting three weeks. I’ve made a new friend, Susan, the author of the letter to the editor mentioned in my Personhood post. You think I’m hot to trot on this issue? This gal is on fire! Susan and I visited the state capitol twice and she showed me the in’s and out’s of speaking with Representatives without an appointment. The first visit I was very nervous but pleasantly surprised to learn that you can walk right into someone’s office and ask to speak with them. We spent a lot of time going from office to office, educating Representatives about the IVF process, freezing embryos and when pregnancy actually occurs compared to conception. What was most surprising was that most of the time they were happy to have us sit down, listen, and talk to us.
The second time we visited was during the morning session. The desk in front of the House floor entrance was a buzz with activity. Apparently, it’s common for lobbyists, constituents, Oklahomans with an agenda, and various other political types to request Representatives to leave the House floor to talk to them. That’s exactly what we did since I was keen to talk to my Representative regarding Personhood. Once he came out to see us (we had to wait a while) he only had a few minutes to talk but suggested we meet him in his office later that morning so he could hear what we had to say. He was up front that he would probably vote for this bill. I expected that but gave him a lot of food for thought before he actually casts that vote.
So here’s the 4-1-1 on SB1433. Two weeks ago the bill went to House Committee where it was discussed and an amendment was added that reads (in part) “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit contraception or in vitro fertilization. The authority to regulate in vitro fertilization procedures is reserved by the Legislature.”
At first reading one would assume this solves the IVF problem. I have to disagree. The amendment does not define IVF or contraception. By definition in vitro fertilization means fertilization in glass. The definition of IVF does not involve cryopreservation (freezing) of embryos even though it can be an integral part of the process (as it was in my case). Also, there is not an exception to save the life of the mother in a life threatening situation. Alarmingly, the amendment reserves the right for the state to regulate IVF procedures. Why in the world would the state need to regulate IVF? This is a big red flag.
Here’s the cold hard truth. This bill is more than likely going to go to the House for discussion and a vote. I don’t know when that will happen but I would guess soon. Because this is an election year and a vast majority of our legislators (Republican and Democrat alike) don’t want to vote against a bill that has been labeled “pro-life” this bill will more than likely pass. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.
Since my visit to the capitol I’ve been looking for a silver lining. Here is what I’ve come up with so far. If this bill is going to pass then why not make it safe for IVF, cryopreservation, contraception and the mother if in a life threatening situation. All we need are some definitions here people.
If I have lit even the smallest fire under you (and you live in Oklahoma) I urge you to contact your representative. You would be very surprised at how willing they are to listen to their constituents (especially in an election year). If you’re not sure how to get a hold of them this website will help you find both your US and state reps.
Friends, this is how democracy works. Be a part of the solution.