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The Blue & Gray Press | February 22, 2018

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Legislation Could Define When Life Begins

Legislation Could Define When Life Begins

By DAWN GOOGE

Brace yourselves folks. Legislators in Mississippi believe they’ve answered the age-old question of what qualifies as a life in the eyes of the law, and that’s a fertilized egg.

Legislators in Mississippi, Florida and Ohio are moving for a personhood constitutional amendment titled Proposition 26. This proposition would declare a fertilized human egg a legal person, thus deeming abortions and some forms of birth control as murderous.

Brad Prewitt, lawyer and executive director of the “Yes on 26” campaign, stated, “Personhood is bigger than just shutting down abortion clinics. It’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.”

Personhood amendments like Proposition 26 would outlaw abortions in all instances including rape and incest, would bar some birth control methods including intrauterine device and “morning after pills” which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus, as well as criminalize the destruction of embryos fertilized in laboratories.

The introduction of Proposition 26 has caused a schism within the anti-choice community, between those who view the amendments to be a step in the right and moral direction, and others, which include the traditional anti-abortion organization National Right to Life, and Roman Catholic bishops who have deemed the amendments “reckless” and undermining to the progress made in repealing Roe v. Wade.

The actions of Mississippi differ greatly from the approach taken by other states in respect to abortion legislation. States with adamant anti-abortion sentiments typically employ restrictive, bureaucratic, as well as financial tactics to limit abortion accessibility.

The Mississippi amendment has its sights set on sidestepping the abortion arguments and legal battles by extending the term “human” to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or functional equivalent thereof.

Personhood amendments similar to that of Proposition 26 have been squashed twice in Colorado, despite the fact that Personhood USA is a Colorado based campaign. In hindsight, the defeats were a minor setback now that Mississippi has proved welcome ground for yet more violations of women’s rights. Mississippi is prime real estate for Personhood USA because the issue of abortion transcends party and racial lines, easily rallying candidates for the cause.

Dr. Randall Hines, a fertility specialist in Jackson who works with Mississippians for Healthy Families, has stated in opposition to the amendments, “the amendment reflects biological ignorance; most fertilized eggs do not implant in the uterus or develop further.” Hines goes on to say that “Once you recognize that the majority of fertilized eggs don’t become people, then you recognize how absurd this amendment is.”

Speaking on behalf of Mississippians for Healthy Families, Hines fears that the amendment would cause severe and unintended consequences for doctors and women dealing with ectopic or similarly dangerous pregnancies as well as for in vitro fertility treatments. Hines finishes by saying that, “they’ll be asking the Legislature, the governor and judges to decide what’s best for the patient.”

With the seeming lack of regard for the likelihood of a ruling of unconstitutionality, and the aims set to federal amendments the personhood campaign and Proposition 26 represent a real threat to us all, and I urge you all to hold your government representatives accountable to their constituency.

On Nov. 10, 2011, two instaces where the term “anti-choice” were used were changed to reflect correct AP style.  The correct term is “anti-abortion,” as now reflected in the article.

Comments

  1. Mary Weaver Mann '71

    Please answer just one question then, if a “fertilized egg” is not HUMAN life, just what kind of life is it?

    Seems to me that all a “fertilized egg” needs to be YOUR size, Dawn, is time, food and nurturing, which someone kindly did for you. For 55 million American citizens in this country since 1973,
    so far, that didn’t happen.

    In China, it’s been 400 million in just the past 30 years, (mostly females,) according to Party Secretary Gao Qiang in a meeting Sept. 20 with members of the House Budget Committee. (pop.org)

  2. Do you eat eggs?

  3. 2010 alum

    Mmm…eggs. With 7 billion and counting, the world’s overpopulated enough as it is. I say the choice to have an abortion doesn’t go far enough. A return to eugenics is what this state needs, and had, under its more enlightened elected officials in the past.

  4. Over 75 BILLION eggs are produced in just the US per year. If China can have the blood of 400 million human eggs over thirty years on their hands, then you shall have the blood of the average 246 chicken eggs per year on yours!

  5. Anonymous

    @Mary Mann- “citizenship” in the US is defined as a person BORN in the country, BORN to American parents, or naturalized. A fetus is none of those things.

  6. anonymous

    I remember the night I was conceived: I went to a party with my dad and left with my mom.

  7. At a party? Your parents seem to be pretty free-spirited.

  8. Arnold

    If illegal immigrants conceive a baby on American soil but then deliver the baby in another country, is that baby a citizen?

    My head hurts trying to figure this one out. 🙁

  9. anonymous

    just curious: why do you use the term “anti-choice” when you refer to pro-life groups? do you call those on your side of the issue “anti-life?” if not, perhaps you should extend a courtesy to those on the opposite side of an issue than yourself by calling them the name they have adopted for themselves.

  10. KS

    The issue here is bigger than abortion/egg/life.

    This is a secular government – separation of church and state. Passing any laws or regulations based on one religion’s preferences is against the concept of a secular government.

    If someone wants to base a law on a religious belief, then the law should only apply to people of that religion.