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‘Personhood’ Amendment Represents New Tack in Abortion Fight


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A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.

With this far-reaching anti-abortion strategy, the proponents of what they call personhood amendments hope to reshape the national debate.

“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.â€

Many doctors and women’s health advocates say the proposals would cause a dangerous intrusion of criminal law into medical care, jeopardizing women’s rights and even their lives.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/us/po ... tions.html

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“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.â€

This makes no sense. People can say that we're made in the image of God all they want. Why do they need a personhood amendment in order to say that?

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This makes no sense. People can say that we're made in the image of God all they want. Why do they need a personhood amendment in order to say that?

Agreed. It already says that in the Bible. We (in the US) not need a law enshrining that.

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I have an American law question for anyone who knows the answer. Is Roe V Wade a national thing so that if any of these ammendments are passed at the state level they will be overturned at the national level and abortion will remain legal? Or is that all totally wrong?

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I have an American law question for anyone who knows the answer. Is Roe V Wade a national thing so that if any of these ammendments are passed at the state level they will be overturned at the national level and abortion will remain legal? Or is that all totally wrong?

Roe v Wade is national. But there is nothing to prevent states from passing restrictions, building codes that are impossible to meet, waiting periods, forcing a woman to get an ultrasound and look at it, and parental notification laws that will eliminate abortion because no one will provide it anymore.

It's simple. Against abortion? Don't have one. (Especially since the anti-choice folks routine vote down any kind of social safety net like free birth control, health care for children, increase in food stamps. free lunches at school, ect. You know, stuff that would take care of the kids they want born oh so badly.)

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Roe v Wade is national. But there is nothing to prevent states from passing restrictions, building codes that are impossible to meet, waiting periods, forcing a woman to get an ultrasound and look at it, and parental notification laws that will eliminate abortion because no one will provide it anymore.

It's simple. Against abortion? Don't have one. (Especially since the anti-choice folks routine vote down any kind of social safety net like free birth control, health care for children, increase in food stamps. free lunches at school, ect. You know, stuff that would take care of the kids they want born oh so badly.)

I totally agree with your last paragraph. So they can put up a million roadblocks but they can't outlaw abortion outright, correct? So would these new ammendments be overturned by someone (SCOTUS, maybe)?

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Guest Anonymous

Roe v Wade is national. But there is nothing to prevent states from passing restrictions, building codes that are impossible to meet, waiting periods, forcing a woman to get an ultrasound and look at it, and parental notification laws that will eliminate abortion because no one will provide it anymore.

It's simple. Against abortion? Don't have one. (Especially since the anti-choice folks routine vote down any kind of social safety net like free birth control, health care for children, increase in food stamps. free lunches at school, ect. You know, stuff that would take care of the kids they want born oh so badly.)

If you're pre-born, you're fine, If you're pre-school, you're fucked-George Carlin

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I totally agree with your last paragraph. So they can put up a million roadblocks but they can't outlaw abortion outright, correct? So would these new ammendments be overturned by someone (SCOTUS, maybe)?

The SCOTUS might rule it unconstitutional because there is no provision regarding the health of the mother. But that's not a sure thing. Shrub made sure he put some right wing nuts on the SCOTUS.

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A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.
The implications this has for the right to abortion are scary enough. But it also worries me how such an amendment might affect fertility treatment.

Maybe it could be good. I could divorce my husband and get a pretty fat welfare check for my 12 frozen children.

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I totally agree with your last paragraph. So they can put up a million roadblocks but they can't outlaw abortion outright, correct? So would these new ammendments be overturned by someone (SCOTUS, maybe)?

Except that the roadblocks effectively outlaw abortion, by just making it impossible to have one. We have the new "Heartbeat" law in Ohio now (thanks, Gov. Ka-suck) and it basically says that a woman cannot obtain an abortion after a heartbeat can be detected. Since fetal hearts start beating around 4 weeks post conception, and are now detectable as early as five weeks, many women may not even realize they're pregnant by that point, let alone be able to make the necessary arrangements.

So basically the "Heartbeat" bill outlawed abortion in Ohio, even though that's not what the bill actually stated.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prenatal-care/PR00112

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The implications this has for the right to abortion are scary enough. But it also worries me how such an amendment might affect fertility treatment.

Maybe it could be good. I could divorce my husband and get a pretty fat welfare check for my 12 frozen children.

Thank you.. my monitor is now spewed with Root beer from my nose. Awesome awesomeness!

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I also assume that this will kill IVF treatments.

Here's an irony: one of the ways that couples at high risk for nasty genetic diseases can avoid the trauma of having and amnio and late-term abortion is to do pre-implantation genetic diagnosis on the embryos, but that's not going to happen if those embryos in a tube get defined as "persons".

Can embryos vote, apply for government benefits or be counted in the census? Has anyone actually put any thought into this?

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You know what is tragically funny? Though the proponents of this nonsense are all extreme godbotherers, personhood from the moment of conception is neither biblical nor traditional.

As far as I know, old testamentarian law treats a induced miscarriage very different from a murder, with only a fine/material compensation

and traditionally the churchfathers( Augustinus etc.) followed the thinking that there was a life/soul present after the quickening, so after ca. the fourth month.

This changed fairly recently, sometime in the 18hundreds, I think.

So modernity is really bad, unless you can use it to oppress women.

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I also assume that this will kill IVF treatments.

Here's an irony: one of the ways that couples at high risk for nasty genetic diseases can avoid the trauma of having and amnio and late-term abortion is to do pre-implantation genetic diagnosis on the embryos, but that's not going to happen if those embryos in a tube get defined as "persons".

Can embryos vote, apply for government benefits or be counted in the census? Has anyone actually put any thought into this?

Not to mention the end to any sort of INCREDIBLE research using embryos.

Thank you.. my monitor is now spewed with Root beer from my nose. Awesome awesomeness!

Glad I could help with that.
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I also assume that this will kill IVF treatments.

Here's an irony: one of the ways that couples at high risk for nasty genetic diseases can avoid the trauma of having and amnio and late-term abortion is to do pre-implantation genetic diagnosis on the embryos, but that's not going to happen if those embryos in a tube get defined as "persons".

Can embryos vote, apply for government benefits or be counted in the census? Has anyone actually put any thought into this?

Here's an article from Jezebel about the effects of the personhood amendment on IVF. Basically, it won't be completely illegal, but the procedures that can still be done will be less effective and more dangerous. There are four doctors in Mississippi who do IVF, and their offices have been flooded with panicked calls about this. They recommend any woman in the state who wants IVF to start it before the vote.

http://jezebel.com/5853133/mississipi-w ... t-your-ivf

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Except that the roadblocks effectively outlaw abortion, by just making it impossible to have one. We have the new "Heartbeat" law in Ohio now (thanks, Gov. Ka-suck) and it basically says that a woman cannot obtain an abortion after a heartbeat can be detected. Since fetal hearts start beating around 4 weeks post conception, and are now detectable as early as five weeks, many women may not even realize they're pregnant by that point, let alone be able to make the necessary arrangements.

So basically the "Heartbeat" bill outlawed abortion in Ohio, even though that's not what the bill actually stated.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prenatal-care/PR00112

Holy hell. I had no idea. So it just outlaws it without actually outlawing it. So stupid and sneaky. I guess following the letter of the law is more important than the spirit and Roe V Wade may as well have never have happened.

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Holy hell. I had no idea. So it just outlaws it without actually outlawing it. So stupid and sneaky. I guess following the letter of the law is more important than the spirit and Roe V Wade may as well have never have happened.

It passed in the Ohio House 54-43 in June and now the GOP-dominated Ohio Senate is taking it up. If they pass it, Ka-SUCK will wet his pants in anticipation of signing it.

I wrote to thank the only Ohio GOP representatie who had the balls to stand up and vote no on this bill (Gerald Stebelton of District 5) and thanked him. He wrote me back a very nice personal letter.

I also wrote to my own representative, another GOPer who voted for the bill, but alas, I didn't hear anything back from Ms. Grossman.

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Oy vey... this is really scary.

“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.â€

l

Funny that is. A lesson in Biblical literalism for the Biblical literalists: when Adam (and later, Eve) was created 'in the Image of God', it was not done from an embryo implanted in a uterine lining. Adam (and Eve) were formed from the earth (and rib) as full adults.

If he would argue that an unborn embryo/fetus harbored the potential of human life, then that's a different discussion. Semantics do matter.

I am also always quite perturbed how these 'pro-life' activists only seem to believe in the sanctity of life before birth. As soon as you're born, you can be thrown into poverty or deprivation, imprisoned and even executed. Or - the irony! - help women out of poverty and abuse so they can make their own reproductive choices. Including birth control.

This is obvious but I can't help but say it: if they want to be pro-life, how about working to improve the lot of living human beings the world over?

And to another poster:

Yes, the Old Testament does not consider an unborn baby a full human being when it comes to accidental abortion and the penalty that follows.

Rabbinic Judaism does not consider the embryo to have any status of significance until 40 days after conception.

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You know what is tragically funny? Though the proponents of this nonsense are all extreme godbotherers, personhood from the moment of conception is neither biblical nor traditional.

As far as I know, old testamentarian law treats a induced miscarriage very different from a murder, with only a fine/material compensation

and traditionally the churchfathers( Augustinus etc.) followed the thinking that there was a life/soul present after the quickening, so after ca. the fourth month.

This changed fairly recently, sometime in the 18hundreds, I think.

So modernity is really bad, unless you can use it to oppress women.

Indeed, the reason abortion became illegal was because it was so unsafe back in the 18th and 19th centuries. It opened women up to all kinds of infections and disease.

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Roe v Wade is national. But there is nothing to prevent states from passing restrictions, building codes that are impossible to meet, waiting periods, forcing a woman to get an ultrasound and look at it, and parental notification laws that will eliminate abortion because no one will provide it anymore.

It's simple. Against abortion? Don't have one. (Especially since the anti-choice folks routine vote down any kind of social safety net like free birth control, health care for children, increase in food stamps. free lunches at school, ect. You know, stuff that would take care of the kids they want born oh so badly.)

Being anti-abortion and anti-birth control makes no sense considering that birth control has prevented millions and millions of abortions. Though of course you have the anti-abortion nuts who think using BC is like having an abortion. :roll:

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There's another part of this I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned yet, it will ALSO make several forms of birth control, including the pill and IUD's, illegal. This is because it's not proven that they stop conception 100% but also keep any embryo from implanting, which under this law would be murder.

I can't stand a lot of this stuff, other people should NOT be able to legislate what I do with my body. I don't like the idea of abortion and wouldn't have one but at least I have a CHOICE. Not everyone thinks the same. I just don't know why so many are all hell-fired up to go back to the bad ol' days of septic pregnancy centers and the many medical horrors that existed in liu of legal abortion.

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I'm currently trying to conceive again. If I do so before Dec. 31, does that mean that I can claim my embryo as a deduction on my taxes? He/She would be a person after all. I swear, these idiot politicians don't think things through before signing off on laws. I hope the states go bankrupt trying to fight legal battles stemming from this law.

I'm not quite sure why they think this will stop abortion. With RU486 on the market now, it's relatively easy to abort a pregnancy before anyone even knows you're pregnant. I'm sure it's not hard to get your hands on it on the black market. We can't stop cocaine or heroin trafficking, like we can keep RU486 out. The only thing this law is going to do is keep women from getting prenatal care on the off chance that they might be accused of murder should they have a miscarriage or if they want to keep their options open during the first trimester. I would certainly refrain from going to the ob-gyn until I was far enough along that if something unforeseen happened, the fetus would be big enough to autopsy.

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Ugh... I assume that many women in U.S. now will take the decision to undergo sterilization (if that's legal...)?

From what I've heard it's damn near impossible for women to get "fixed" when they're still young and fertile. Most doctors won't do it unless you've had kids or are older.

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