The Personhood Amendment: Rights for eggs but not for women

Daily Kos

by Kaili Joy Gray

October 30, 2011

The famous Monty Python song Every Sperm is Sacred is about to become a sad reality in Mississippi. Amendment 26, also known as the Personhood Amendment, is simple on its face:

The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.

That means a fertilized egg, like the one pictured to the right, would be recognized as a person under this new law, supposedly with all the same rights and protections as the woman who carries it.

The sponsors of this amendment, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot this year, and which is expected to pass, are not shy about stating their reasoning for such an amendment: the amendment sets up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade in the hopes of seeing it overturned. If a fertilized egg is legally recognized as a person, the thinking goes, then the destruction of a fertilized egg—whether through abortion or even use of certain types of contraception like the IUD and the morning-after pill, which prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus—could be recognized as murder, and therefore prosecuted as such.

But that’s not all the proponents of the bill hope to achieve. Earlier this week, The New York Times reported:

“I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for the Mississippi proposition. “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.”

Of course, the state has no business making such declarations—that we are made in the image of God—the law of the land. But hardcore believers, like proponents of the Personhood Amendment, seek to destroy the separation between church and state, and they see this amendment as another step in that direction. And of course it would make abortion, contraception and embryonic stem cell research a crime.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.