OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Senate has overwhelmingly approved an anti-abortion "personhood" bill that declares life begins at conception, despite objections from the medical community that the bill could have dire unintended consequences.
Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to legally define when life actually begins.
"We need to affirm in the state of Oklahoma that after conception that is not a mass of floating cells," said Josh Brecheen, Oklahoma State Senator Dist. 6. "That is a human being."
Senate bill 1433, or the "Personhood" bill, was approved Wednesday by the Oklahoma Senate in an overwhelming 34 to 8 vote. The bill declares that life begins at conception. It's opposed by the Oklahoma State Medical Association who warn that the new law could have far reaching unintended consequences.
"This is the kind of bill that the medical profession is very concerned about," said Dr. Eli Reshef, reproductive endocrinologist. "It's very vague. It has very broad implications to various medical practices."
The bill gives embryos and fetuses all the rights and privileges as other citizens. Dr. Reshef runs an in vitro fertilization clinic in Oklahoma city. He says freezing embryos is common practice and not every embryo survives, and that's just one of the reasons the new bill poses a big problem.
"The freezing sometimes will cause some embryos not to survive may be considered by some manslaughter," said Dr. Reshef.
Oklahoma State Senator Josh Brecheen voted for the bill. He says that it will not have the broad effects that some fear, and that it will mainly be used for education.
"It will not make abortion illegal," Brecheen said. "What it will do is this is going to be used as an educational tool to counter the argument that after conception that is just a mass of floating cells. We as a state feel very strongly that we've got to correct that."
The bill now heads to the house where it's expected to pass