Personhood USA Spokesperson Admits Mississippi Amendment Would Affect Birth Control

By Virginia Chamlee, The Florida Independent

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.

From NPR’s Diane Rehm Show:

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.

Cross-posted with the Florida IndependentAll rights reserved. Please do not reprint without permission.

This post is part of the #HERvotes blog carnival on the Mississippi Personhood Amendment.

Why Mississippi’s ‘Personhood’ Measure Is a Threat to Women Everywhere

By Lauren Kalina, Advocates for Youth Intern

On November 8, the state of Mississippi will vote on ballot initiative 26, which will attempt to change the Mississippi constitution to define human life as beginning at conception. The actual text of the initiative is as follows:

Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

For the women of Mississippi, this initiative would attempt to ban abortion, certain types of birth control as well as treatment for infertility and miscarriage. This is a major violation of a woman’s reproductive rights. Additionally, Initiative 26 could have many more far-reaching, unforseen legal and political implications.

Recently, many anti-choice presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, have come out in support of this life-threatening measure. Romney, like many other conservative politicians, seems to be confused about just how extreme Initiative 26 is. Here, you can watch Rachel Maddow set men straight about how birth control works.

Women’s access to birth control could be severly limited by Initiative 26 because this measure considers a fertilized egg as a human life. However, many forms of birth control prevents the implantation of fertilized eggs, therein creating a conflict. Maybe if our politicans had received better sex education they might understand this more thoroughly…

This vote on November 8th is of particular importance to Mississippians, but should be of great importance to women all over the country. According to CNN, Mississippi is the only state with a “personhood” initiative on the ballot this year. However, according to the CNN article, similar measures are being planned for next year in Florida, Montana and Ohio; and efforts in at least five other states are in the planning stages.

A yes vote on this measure would open the floodgates for more bills such as this to be introduced in other states. Mississippians for Healthy Families has created a coalition of organizations that oppose Initiative 26. The coalition includes: the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, The American College of Obstetrician Gynecologists and many more.

Regardless of where you live, you can help make a difference in the lives of women and families throughout Mississippi by donating today to the Vote No on 26 campaign. Your support will help the campaign’s grassroots efforts to prevent the passage of this harmful initiative.

Crossposted from Amplify Your Voice.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.