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Oklahoma Doctors Say Personhood Bill Could Criminalize Infertility Treatment

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Some Doctors worry in vitro fertilization could soon be illegal if the Personhood Bills pass. Some Doctors worry in vitro fertilization could soon be illegal if the Personhood Bills pass.
Lauinger does not back the second bill. He says the less restrictive one is more likely to pass. Lauinger does not back the second bill. He says the less restrictive one is more likely to pass.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

As lawmakers at the capitol debate the proposed Personhood bills, people are speaking out on both sides.

The two bills say life begins at conception, but have very different restrictions.

The bills here in Oklahoma are part of a larger, national Personhood movement. The possible impact of Personhood has people fired up.

02/20/2012 Related Story: Confusion Mounts Over Oklahoma 'Personhood' Bills

Some Doctors worry in vitro fertilization could soon be illegal if the Personhood Bills pass.

"We do not want to practice medicine under the shadow of criminal prosecution," said Dr. Eli Reshef, Infertility Specialist.

One bill has already passed the state Senate. Its language is taken from a nearly 25-year-old Missouri law that states life begins at conception.

It would not ban abortion or fertility treatments, according to its backer – Tony Lauinger with Oklahomans For Life.

"In vitro fertilization goes on across the state of Missouri. Birth control is used in Missouri. Abortion is legal in Missouri," Lauinger said.

The other bill is still working its way through the House. If it passes, it would be voted on by all Oklahomans in November. It would outlaw abortion and fertility treatments that destroy embryos.

"It poses more of a direct challenge to the Roe vs. Wade decision," Lauinger said.

Lauinger does not back the second bill. He says the less restrictive one is more likely to pass.

But an Oklahoma City fertility doctor worries -- his lab could become a crime scene anyway.

"Why do you want to do it when someone more overzealous than you are can misinterpret it to say, Dr. Reshef, Dr. Craig, cannot do IVF because the embryos they are handling in the lab are people? Who is to say somebody like this may not come along," Dr. Reshef said.

It's a question posed in Oklahoma and at least 24 other states where Personhood proposals were recently considered.

Here in Oklahoma, the National Right to Life Committee is helping Lauinger's group push his bill.

The nonprofit Personhood USA -- has helped push Personhood bills in other states, along with another group called Pro Life SuperPAC.

Personhood USA's director says the group is willing to financially back local legislation that makes Personhood the law.

02/17/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Lawmaker Defends 'Personhood' Bill

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