Personhood defeated in Mississippi

CNN reports that Mississippi voted 58% against designating fertilized eggs as having personhood.

With voters supporting either side were split evenly, the 11% undecided vote were inundated with campaigning – however, it is likely that outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour “expressed that he was undecided about the issue, saying it was ‘too ambiguous’;” was what swung the undecided to vote against the measure.

Personhood USA, the group behind this attempt to establish a basis in law to eventually challenge Roe v Wade, vows to continue their fight to provide the same legal rights to the unborn as to the mother. Unsurprisingly, when people raised concerns about what exactly does that mean, Personhood USA asserted that this was scare tactics.

Except, what does it mean is a valid question.

If the unborn has the same rights as the mother, that effectively removes the mother from being able to make reproductive decisions as being in a conflict of interest between her rights and her unborn fetus.

Giving a fertilized egg equal rights to an existing person without consideration of who gets to speak for the rights of a particular fertilized egg is an important question – and until there’s an answer, there should be no more such referendums because people are only voting for an idea, with little or no consideration to the ramifications:

What will it mean for women’s reproductive rights? What does it mean about the decisions a woman can make with her doctor? Will it mean women will be at the mercy of the state when it comes to everything from taking certain birth control pills to trying to conceive if a couple is infertile? What happens to those fertilized eggs for IVF treatments if they aren’t used? And would people be facing prosecution if they did any of those things?

It is not acceptable to turn back the clock and make women beholden to boyfriends, husbands, fathers or even rapists to make reproductive decisions on behalf of the fertilized egg.

Pregnancy is one of those zero sum game situations, there is no accommodating both parties if the woman doesn’t want to or can’t go through pregnancy.

Either the woman is a person under the law, entitled to make decisions about her body and have personal sovereignty or she does not.

There is no one more qualified or better able than the mother to determine if pregnancy is an option or not for her.

This idea that strangers should get to decide what you can or cannot do with your own body should be loathsome and unthinkable.

This is what the real harm of religion is – putting ideas above actual living breathing people – and worse, by coddling religious sensibilities and acting as if religion was a valid worldview despite that religions are not based in evidence or reality – people have become entitled to the idea that their particular religion should inform the law of the secular land and be imposed on people whether they accept that religion or not.

The Magna Carta freed the peasants from the whims of the king by establishing rights and responsibilities in law. The American declaration of independence made individuals the social unit of consequence and guaranteed everyone life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and Roe v Wade, more than getting to vote, assured women of their right to personal sovereignty.

Personhood USA wants to take that personal sovereignty away and reduce women from being persons under the law to being chattel beholden to men again because their religious views have entitled them to decide who’s a person and who’s not.

Fertilized egg yes, women, not so much.



Personhood, innocence depending

CNN reports that Mississippi is voting on amendment to declare fertilized egg a person:

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.”

There’s a lot to be concerned about with legally stating that personhood begins at conception, but what’s most concerning is this idea of personhood being for all INNOCENT humans.

Because that cannot be glossed over.

This distinction between an innocent person and a guilty one is what allows so called Pro-lifers to be Pro-Dealth penalty.

But it’s also why religious believers are unwilling to allow marriage to be inclusive of gays and lesbians – the religious beleive that us gays and lesbians – and atheists and beleivers in other religions are guilty of intentionally disobeying their god.

Legal rights and protections are enshrined as inalienable just for being a citizen, not dependent on good behaviour and public conformity to Christianity.

These religious ideas must be kept out of secular law and resisted at every opportunity – the cost of having rights is eternal vigilance.

It is somewhat horrifying to me that as fast as the Islamic world is rising up and saying enough violence and dictators and calling for democratic forms of government, that the American Christians, are trying to remake that country into a Christian Theocracy.