Personhood and Semantics

Ken AshfordWomen's Issues1 Comment

Tomorrow, Mississippians will vote on whether to amend their state constitution to declare that embryos are persons.

The ballot measure, known as Proposition 26, asks: “Should the term 'person' be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?” Organizers and supporters of the measure are pushing similar amendments in other states.

This wouldn't overturn Roe v. Wade; in fact, it (arguably) would run up against it and be unconstitutional.  But that's hardly the point.  Supports of the measure have a larger goal: a personhood amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would supersede Roe and make abortion illegal nationwide.

Basically (they believe), if you define "person" to include fertilized eggs, then the law will protect them just as it protects real people.

Oddly, this will have many unintended effects beyond abortion.  Need three people in order to drive in the fast lane?  Well, if one is pregnant, maybe you can get by.  On the other hand, sharing an ultrasound picture on Facebook would probably violate pornography statutes.

It's bound to fail (although perhaps not in Mississippi).  And remember, this isn't JUST about abortion.  This concept means that even if you take a pill to block a fertilized egg from attaching to the uturan uterine wall (which happens all the time), you will have committed murder.