Personhood; Where Is Our Choice?
According to Resolve: The National Fertility Association, there are currently 13 states in which personhood bills or ballots have been introduced. For some, this is a simple moral issue on abortion but for most it is a life altering decision which, as Americans, we may no longer have the freedom to make. Not only would these amendments pave the way to overturning a battle won so many years ago with Roe v. Wade but it would also change women’s rights to birth control and could possibly even remove the process of in vitro fertilization as a way for infertile couples to have a family. It does not end there. What will happen to victims of rape and incest who are forced to carry an emotionally detrimental pregnancy to term? What about a mother whose life will become forfeit if she carries a pregnancy to term? Is every case so clear as to be able to charge these women as murderers? The definition of personhood from the “Federal Personhood Amendments (Congress)-History and Background” website states, “Personhood is a new and rapidly growing movement within the Pro-Life Community that seeks to establish a legal definition of a person that includes unborn children, thus making killing an unborn child a crime punishable under existing murder laws.” This is where we must begin in order to understand the rights and freedoms of not only women, but all Americans, that are in serious jeopardy today.
The purpose stated in the Federal Personhood Amendment of 2008 is as follows: “To
establish that legal personhood is granted to all human beings in the United States from the beginning of their biological life.” In laymen’s terms that would mean that as soon as the egg is fertilized it is a person. This leaves no room for discussion. Fortunately, Roe v. Wade established in 1973that it is a woman’s right to decide what to do when and if she finds herself in a situation where she has become impregnated. In “How To Understand Roe v. Wade it says, “Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in his opinion that the right to privacy guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is "broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." That is rather clear. Unfortunately for Roe v. Wade and also for the women of America it states in “The Next Front in the Abortion Wars: Birth Control,” that Personhood, “aims squarely for Roe v. Wade by seizing on language from former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun – the author of the Roe decision — during the hearings that the case would “collapse” if “this suggestion of personhood is established … for the fetus.” Roe v. Wade has been an extremely controversial subject in America for almost four decades now and I believe it will continue to be controversial. In “Timeline: The Move Toward Personhood” the first date we see is 1967. It states that in 1967, “ Colorado legalizes abortion in cases of rape, incest, or for health of the mother. In response, Colorado Right To Life forms to push a total ban on abortion.” So even when only legalizing abortion for the specific purpose of rape, incest, or the health and well-being of the mother in question abortion should still not be an option. Personhood began in 1967. It is not going to go away until people start fighting to keep the rights that they have. Initiative 26 (Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment) was on the ballot in November of 2011. Thankfully the voters of Mississippi knew that this was not the right choice. It did not pass. There will be other states and others ballots in which personhood amendments will appear. Personhood amendments will not stop abortions, they will only illegalize them and make them unsafe.
The light at the end of the tunnel of infertility has been snuffed out. The darkness which envelops a couple who cannot bear children will have no end. These unfortunate couples will live...
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