The Antiabortion Personhood Movement
By Kimberly Cheng
Republican lawmakers and Bible-thumping extremists are championing the Personhood Amendment in more than a dozen states across the nation. By defining that human life begins at conception, the measure essentially grants full legal rights to fertilized eggs. If passed, the Personhood Amendment would not only ban virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, but also oral contraceptives, IUDs and other methods to prevent pregnancy—a devastating blow to the 99% of women in the United States who use some form of birth control. A victory would also prohibit married women from conceiving via in vitro fertilization and outlaw embryonic stem-cell research.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has declared that personhood measures “erode women’s basic rights to privacy and bodily integrity, deny women access to the full spectrum of preventive healthcare and undermine the doctor-patient relationship.” Even a resounding rejection in 2011 by Mississippi voters and a pair of defeats in Colorado haven’t been able to quell the advocates of “life begins at conception,” most notably Colorado-based Personhood USA. Here are at least 15 states where you might see the Personhood Amendment on your ballot this year: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington.