On Tuesday the Mississippi electorate will vote on a controversial amendment to the state constitution declaring that “the term ‘person’ [is] defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof.” The Mississippi Personhood Amendment, as it is known, is echoed by similar ballot measures in a half dozen other states.
Since it is illegal to murder a person in all states, and all states have laws dispensing jail time or even the death penalty for murder, the logical conclusion from these referenda is that they will instantly reclassify a broad swath of society as felons. Have pro-life advocates prepared state corrections officials for the flood of recently pregnant women, abortion doctors, and “morning after” pill consumers they’ll be sending to the pen or the gas chamber?
Mississippi’s law, the most extreme state personhood referendum on the ballot this year, would ban all abortions, some forms of birth control, and all embryonic stem cell research.
Jessica Valenti notes that Proposition 26 would “prioritize the rights of fertilized eggs over the rights of the women carrying them.” Passage of the law would lead to the absurdity of proclaiming unused but fertilized eggs in a Petri dish to be persons and outlawing in vitro fertilization.
Pro-life conservatives have been crowing about the recent spate of stealth victories their movement has won on the state level. In The Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes explains that this progress has been possible largely because gay marriage has become the more visible social issue in recent years and has detracted attention from continuing behind-the-scenes efforts to restrict abortion. Such advances are supported, Barnes argues, by technological breakthroughs in sonogram quality, which have made fetuses seem more developed and autonomous than imagined. read more »