Conservative types sure are liberal about whom, or what, they’re willing to call a person. Hey, corporations are people too! And according to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and other like-minded state legislators, so is a fertilized egg.
Barbour opted to vote and tell on Friday about his decision in the latest ballot battle over where exactly to pinpoint life’s starting point. Despite some vague burblings of doubt he made earlier in the week, the governor left no room for any pro-choice compromises by supporting an amendment to the state constitution that would mark the moment of conception as the official beginning of personhood from a legislative standpoint.
This initiative, of course, would have a serious impact on a number of related interests and practices of the medical, legal and sociopolitical nature. And if you thought it might have something to do with, say, the possibility of upending Roe v. Wade, you’d be right. —KA
Initiative 26 would define personhood as “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
Though the text of the amendment is simple, the implications if it passes couldn’t be more complex. If approved by Mississippi voters on Tuesday, it would make it impossible to get an abortion and hamper the ability to get some forms of birth control.
Because the amendment would define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights, it could have an impact on a woman’s ability to get the morning-after pill or birth control pills that destroy fertilized eggs, and it could make in vitro fertilization treatments more difficult because it could become illegal to dispose of unused fertilized eggs. This could lead to a nationwide debate about women’s rights and abortion while setting up a possible challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which makes abortion legal.
The ballot initiative is part of a national campaign brought by Personhood USA. The Colorado-based group describes itself as a nonprofit Christian ministry that “serves the pro-life community by assisting local groups to initiate citizen, legislative, and political action focusing on the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement: personhood rights for all innocent humans.”
Now? No, not yet.