Tomorrow the good (and bad) citizens of the state of Mississipi will go to the polls to vote on a referendum to amend the state constitution. Here’s Amendment 26, which will define a fertilized egg, and every other developmental stage of H. sapiens, as a “person.”
Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi: SECTION 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hereby amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION TO READ: Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.” This initiative shall not require any additional revenue for implementation.
The New York Times notes:
The amendment in Mississippi would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest. It would bar some birth control methods, including IUDs and “morning-after pills,” which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories. . .
The approach, granting legal rights to embryos, is fundamentally different from the abortion restrictions that have been adopted in dozens of states. These try to narrow or hamper access to abortions by, for example, sharply restricting the procedures at as early as 20 weeks, requiring women to view ultrasounds of the fetus, curbing insurance coverage and imposing expensive regulations on clinics.
The Mississippi amendment 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.”
If this passes, and I’m betting it will, abortion will become murder. And the amendment will be appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, if they affirm it, will constitute the effective overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that a woman has a right to an abortion, at least up to the moment the fetus considered “viable.” The current Court is very conservative, and may well overturn its 38-year-old decision.
Where does this come from? Mostly from religion, of course, for the whole premise is based on the presence of a soul in the zygote. Barring that, it’s just an undifferentiated ball of cells and this kerfuffle would surely not exist—or at least be as widespread.
If a zygote is a “person,” then consider what we already believe about developmental stages: