For those of you who don’t know, the Mississippi Personhood Act was a legislative initiative being pushed for that would legally declare that life begins at conception/fertilization of a human egg and in turn creating personhood at that time, functionally making abortion murder in the eyes of the law. Now, this legislation didn’t pass, but it was far too close of a call, in my opinion. Not only do many of those who rally behind this movement hope to ban abortion and overturn all abortion legislation, this would create a legal system where every fertilized egg has all the rights endowed to a current United States citizen.
I find enormous problems with this logic. Does that mean if you live in Mississippi and have an abortion in Ohio, are you tried for murder when you go back? Doesn’t this make in-vitro fertilization for sterile people or couples illegal? Doesn’t this make a miscarriage an involuntary manslaughter or gross negligence? And they are all still punishable by the death penalty? That seems insane to me!
Ironically, this type of initiative is supported by many (but not all) advocates of the death penalty and a decrease in aid to welfare and Medicaid. Hypocritical? I think yes. Something additionally found interesting was that the catholic pro-life movement is actually against this initiative and the conservative Protestant movement (who is mainly fueling this initiative) is becoming more radical than ever.
Much of this radical movement of personhood portrays abortion as a voluntary sport that the liberals in the United States revel in. This is absolutely untrue. The fact of the matter is that many women are stuck in an economically binding state that would not allow for a healthy environment to raise a child in. The obvious answer pro-lifers give is adoption. While, I think adoption is a great alternative as well, I don’t think this makes abortion the wrong decision. If this personhood initiative were actualized, that would probably make adoption also problematic with the fundamental lack of infrastructure to hold these children. According to the CDC, since 1973 over 50 million legal abortions were performed. Only about 60,000 “stranger adoptions” occur each year with about 580,000 foster children left un-adopted, according to adoptioninsitiute.com. With and extra 76,000 children born each year this seems like highly unsustainable substitute.
If we look to many less economically developed countries, particularly in Africa, where family planning clinics are not readily available, the abortion rate does not decrease. There is merely an increase in the amount of illegal and extremely unsafe abortions that occur, putting the health of the women in severe danger. Remember what happened during prohibition??
Organized crime and underground abortion clinics with no health standards or FDA approval sounds like a much worse alternative.
This also raises the question of regulation. How do you enforce monitoring every fertilized egg out there? Do we randomly give mass pregnancy tests to sexually active females when the state doesn’t even know if there is a “life” inside them? This raises questions of huge human rights violations on the privacy of women. Sorry government, but STAY OUT OF MY VAGINA! Thankfully, it will… for now.