It's the legal lynchpin of the Roe v. Wade decision.
The Roe decision defined "viable" as being "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid," adding that viability "is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.
Some anti-abortion supporters maintain that personhood begins at conception, and should therefore be protected by the Constitution. The dissenting justices (White and Reinquist) in Roe instead wrote that decisions about abortion "should be left with the people and to the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs."
The majority opinion allowed states to protect "fetal life after viability" even though a fetus is not "a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment".
The "Mississippi Initiative 26" - the “personhood” amendment on the November 8th ballot - aims to sidestep existing legal battles, simply stating that “the term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
It would effectively end access to reproductive health care in Mississippi — including banning all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest or the life of the woman; some forms of contraception; and in vitro fertilization.
It also offers the frightening possibility that doctors would not be able to provide life-saving medical treatment to a pregnant woman, for example, in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.
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Legal challenges would surely follow, but even if the amendment is ultimately declared unconstitutional, it could disrupt vital care, critics say, and force years of costly court battles.
Traditional leaders of the fight, including National Right to Life and the Roman Catholic bishops, have refused to promote it, charging that the tactic is reckless and could backfire, leading to a Supreme Court defeat that would undermine progress in carving away at Roe v. Wade.
Conservative Christian groups including the American Family Association and the Family Research Council are firmly behind the proposal.
One of the most alarming things about this amendment is that it would also enact in law a specific religious view about “personhood” that is in conflict with views held by most religious denominations and many people of faith — a clear intrusion by government into decisions of conscience.
The Mississippi initiative - as well as similar initiatives in Florida, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin and other states - seeks to declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.
|Bad Science Makes Bad Medicine - and Bad Law|
He also says that “Personhood is bigger than just shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.”
The Christian Medical and Dental Associations, which reject the accepted medical definition of pregnancy as the implantation of a fertilized egg, say the amendment is based on “undeniable scientific and medical evidence as well as on clear recognition that God is the creator of life.”
Mississippi’s largest Christian denomination, the Mississippi Baptist Convention, is backing the personhood proposal through its lobbying arm, the Christian Action Commission.
"For us, it has never been a political issue. It is a moral and spiritual issue," the commission’s executive director, Jimmy Porter, says in a video, adding, "The Lord expects us to value life, even as he does,”
There's a word for this debate over personhood. It's called "theocracy".
You know - the same dynamic which is central to Sharia Law which also has these 'good ole boys' in a tailspin because they don't want someone else's religious understandings and beliefs imposed on them.
Can you say, "hypocrisy"?
Okay then, how about "patriarchy"?
Make no mistake, kids, this is what it's all about.
Whether Sharia Law or the Mississippi Initiative 26, it's the pathetic, desperate attempt to assert the "natural law" of the supremacy of men. We know that something is "natural" and "the law", of course, because it's in the Jewish and Christian texts as well as in the Koran.
It's a total disrespect for the life - and intelligence - of women and their ability to determine what is "right" for their bodies, their lives, their families.
It's insanity, is what it is.
Then again, I've always said that prejudice is a social disease that destroys brain cells.
Once the Supreme Court determined that corporations are people, did we really expect anything else?
If you are really "pro-life" then why not join forces with others who are trying to deal with the undermining reasons for abortions:
POVERTY. LACK OF EDUCATION. LIMITED ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE.
The fact of the matter is that the Mississippi Initiative 26 - if it passes - will not stop abortion. Women of means will simply go to another state for that service.
It will not stop women of poverty from seeking abortions, either. It will make it more difficult and add one more danger to her already perilous life.
Can you say, "coat hanger"?
The fact of the matter is that there is no consensus on the question of “when life begins” — often even within a particular faith tradition.
Most religions hold that the decision about contraception and abortion must be a woman’s.
Check out this webpage from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) and see for yourself.
As long as there is no medical or religious consensus to the age old "chicken and egg" question - and, as long as this is still America where the foundational belief of freedom of religion prevails, allowing for the coexistence of other, equally valid religious views - the present law of the land protects everyone, no matter their belief or religious system.
And that, my friends, is what it's all about.