KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Okla. Court Keeps ‘Personhood’ Off Nov. Ballot; Minn. Gov. Vetoes Abortion Bill

Sooner state voters won't vote on the controversial proposal to label an embryo a person.

Reuters: Oklahoma Court Rejects Ballot Initiative On "Personhood"
The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday struck down a ballot initiative that sought voter approval of a so-called "personhood" amendment to the state constitution to define an embryo as a human being from the moment of conception (Olafson, 4/30).

The Associated Press: Okla. Court Halts 'Personhood' Rights For Embryos
The state's highest court ruled unanimously that a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would define a fertilized human egg as a person violates a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Pennsylvania case and "is clearly unconstitutional." Supporters of the personhood amendment are trying to gather enough signatures to put it before Oklahoma voters on the November ballot (Talley, 4/30).

The Hill: Oklahoma Court Tosses 'Personhood' Amendment
The personhood movement supports amending state constitutions to say that life begins at the moment of fertilization -- a definition that would likely impede women's access to contraception and in vitro fertilization (Baker, 4/30).

Politico Pro: 'Personhood' Move Struck In Oklahoma
When is a defeat a victory? When you're Personhood USA. Gualberto Garcia Jones, legislative director for the anti-abortion organization, said the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision Monday to block a ballot initiative to extend full legal rights to the moment of conception will help his movement in the long run. The "momentary setback" will foment anger among the initiative's supporters, which will help build energy for their controversial strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade, he contended (Feder, 4/30).

Meanwhile --

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dayton Issues Second Abortion Veto
Gov. Mark Dayton has issued his second veto of an abortion bill in as many weeks. The governor issued an expected veto Monday of a bill that would have required physicians to be physically present every time an abortion pill like RU-486 is prescribed, and again every time such a pill is swallowed (Brooks, 4/30).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Dayton Vetoes Bill Requiring Doctors Be Present For Abortion Pill
Dayton also vetoed a bill that would allow Minnesota to join a group of other states in regulating health care within their states and to secure federal funding. "This bill would be a drastic departure from our current system of shared state and federal responsibility for delivering health care services,'' Dayton said (Lien, 4/30).

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