Jewish Journal

Personhood amendment fails in Mississippi

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 9, 2011 | 8:59 am

Passage of Mississippi’s personhood amendment was far from certain. The amendment would have defined life “to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof.” This likely would have resulted in a ban on abortion (and opponents said birth control too). A legal fight over whether the ban violated the U.S. Constitution inevitably would have followed.

But Constitutional Initiative 26, as it was known on the ballot, failed to pass.. Here’s what Jacques Berlinerblau, a religion professor at Georgetown, says this means for the personhood amendment movement in a criticism of the motivations of the “hard Christian right”:

Secular believers and nonbelievers had better understand their antics and resolve. Expect one thousand Amendment 26s in the future. And that’s because this type of over-the-top activism is, currently, a win-win proposition for social conservatives.

Let’s be clear: the endeavor to define a fertilized egg as a human being endowed with all of the rights of what we would normally consider a citizen was a preposterous proposition from the start. It was simply insane from a variety of ethical, theological, libertarian, medical, metaphysical and even practical perspectives.

Leave aside all of that. The greatest absurdity consisted of the “compliance” component of this amendment. For how exactly could the state of Mississippi prevent and subsequently prosecute zygote homicide?

At this point, I feel like the focus of this blog post should change for the fate of Mississippi’s personhood amendment to the state of the Washington Post’s Georgetown/On Faith blog. But I’ll leave that to my friends at GetReligion.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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