Mississippi's 'Personhood Amendment' Causing Stir Among Voters

An extreme pro-life measure being taken in Mississippi to protect the rights of the unborn is causing a huge stir among voters as the Nov. 8 elections approach.

Proposition 26, also known as the Personhood Amendment, aims to declare that human life begins at the moment in which an egg is fertilized and requests the fertilized eggs be given the legal rights of a person, thereby making all forms of abortion as well as certain forms of contraception illegal. This would include forms of birth control, such as the morning-after pill and intrauterine devices (IUDs), both of which prevent a fertilized egg from entering the womb. In addition, the measure would outlaw the destruction of fertilized embryos stored in laboratories.

"There is a moment when the chromosomes from a woman and the chromosomes from a man unite and form a unique, new individual," attorney Stephen Crampton said at a panel discussion on the subject at Mississippi College School of Law, according to CBS News. "The question, then, is simple: Is it fully human -- is he or she fully human? And is he or she alive? The answer to both of those questions is emphatically yes. As a society, it becomes incumbent upon us to take steps to recognize that fact and then to implement laws to protect it."

While many pro-life advocates strongly support the measure, it is causing concern amongst doctors and opponents who argue that it does not provide leeway when considering cases of rape, incest or other types of medical emergencies, that nd it infringes upon women's rights.

"Once you recognize that the majority of fertilized eggs don't become people, then you recognize how absurd this amendment is," Dr. Randall S. Hines, a fertility specialist working against the measure told The New York Times. Hines is particularly against Proposition 26 because he fears what this could mean for doctors and patients dealing with dangerous pregnancies, or in vitro fertility treatments.

"We'll be asking the Legislature, the governor, judges to decide what is best for the patient," he said.

In addition, some Catholic organizations nationwide are refusing to support the legislation because they fear it will backfire and create even more support for Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision by the Supreme Court protecting a woman's right to choose, which the church was worked so fervently to overturn.

"We believe the strategy to pass a state constitutional amendment declaring personhood is problematic, in part, because of its heavy reliance on unpredictable courts and dependence on future legislative actions to define and implement the law," said the Montana Catholic Conference in a statement, according to The Cypress Times. "In addition, leading pro-life legal experts have expressed concerns that state personhood amendments might trigger an appellate process that could strengthen Roe v Wade. For those reasons, the Montana Catholic Conference will not support the amendment."

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