Of Personhood and the Pill: What’s at Stake?


The Personhood Amendment, MS26, is a deceptively simple sentence: “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.” There’s not a word about IVF, or about contraception, or about ectopic pregnancy treatment or miscarriages. Anyone who considers himself or herself pro-life will almost certainly reflexively agree with it. The implications, though, are drastic. Because there’s no established legal standard for what rights are conveyed by the term “personhood,” it can be applied as broadly as the state legislature and judicial system will support. Everyone, supporters and dissenters alike, agrees that it will prohibit elective abortion, the morning-after pill, and discarding frozen embryos. What else, though, might be prohibited under the same logic?

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