Mississippi Personhood amendment would affect birth control, advocates admit
Despite past statements to the contrary, some “fetal personhood” supporters are now admitting that, if enacted, their legislation would likely not only outlaw abortion, but some forms of birth control, as well.
Supporters of Mississippi’s “personhood” bill have long argued that it would only outlaw abortion, but many critics say that the vague wording of Amendment 26 (which would give fertilized human eggs legal status) would likely outlaw birth control pills. Speaking with NPR’s Diane Rehm yesterday, Personhood spokesperson Walter Hoye stated that if birth control ends the life of a “human being,” it would indeed be impacted by the measure.
When asked if there were any restrictions on birth control included in the amendment, Hoye said “no… well, yes,” but added that some forms of birth control (including the morning-after pill) would be outlawed.
Hoye: Any birth control that ends the life of a human being will be impacted by this measure.
Rehm: So that would then include the IUD [intra-uterine device]. What about the birth control pill?
Hoye: If that falls into the same category, yes.
Rehm: So you’re saying that the birth control pill could be considered as taking the life of a human being?
Hoye: I’m saying that once the egg and the oocyte come together and you have that single-celled embryo, at that point you have human life, you’ve got a human being and we’re taking the life of a human being with some forms of birth control and if birth control falls into that category, yes I am.
Hoye, who is the president of the Issues4Life Foundation (a group that has erected anti-abortion billboards aimed specifically at African-Americans) also told Rehm that in vitro fertilization would not be affected by the passage of the bill, despite objections to the contrary.
Later during the show, Suzanne Novak, senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued that the passage of Amendment 26 would put women at risk for criminal prosecution if they suffered a miscarriage.
“If a woman, let’s say, has exercised too much, or gotten in a car accident, if her fertilized egg is considered a person and, for any reason, she was at fault, she could be prosecuted for initiating that miscarriage,” she said, citing a recent case in Iowa where a woman fell down a flight of stairs while pregnant, and was arrested and threatened with prosecution following a comment she made to medical personnel that led police to believe she had fallen intentionally.
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