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What is life


Gazette staff February 22nd, 2012

There’s a symbolic weight in being the first of anything, whether it’s the first man to orbit the Earth (Yuri Gagrin), the first man to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong) or the first mooning of a man on earth (alas, history dropped the ball on recording that one).

In that spirit, it’s worth noting that the first bill passed by the Oklahoma state Senate this session wasted no time diving into the so-called culture war. By a 34-8 vote, the Senate passed a measure Feb. 15 stating that life begins at conception. Senate Bill 1433 ensures that fetuses have the same full rights and privileges as anyone else in Oklahoma.

Critics counter that the “personhood” bill by Tulsa Republican Brian Crain could criminalize birth control, stem cell research and in vitro fertilization. 

Leading that opposition during Senate debate, Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Holdenville, lamented how male legislators hone their pro-life bona fides while ignoring the role of the XY chromosome in making little creatures that cry, poop and eventually ask to borrow the car. Johnson referenced a short-lived amendment she had offered, one that would have prohibited semen from going anywhere but in a female whoseewhatsit.

“I was serious as a heart attack,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t until I used the biological and scientific references to those functions that somebody heard it. Leave the women be, give us a break. But when we have a conversation, let’s not leave half the equation out.”

Crain used a procedural move to block Johnson from attaching yet another amendment, this time one to require a vasectomy and a $25,000 fine for men accused of rape that results in a pregnancy.

Chicken-Fried News’ favorite moment in the debate occurred when Sen. Ralph Shortey rose in support of SB 1433. The Oklahoma City Republican, you might recall, authored this session’s most unappetizing legislation: a proposal to outlaw the use of fetuses in food.

Shortey told his fellow senators that he and his wife had enjoyed takeout Thai food for Valentine’s Day the night before. We presume he ordered Thai easy on the fetuses.

 
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