Personhood laws are the anti-abortionist’s new best friend, and while their proposal may be good news for some, it is a huge step backward for many women. This law would define the beginning of life as the moment of conception, the instant the egg is fertilized. It is designed to outlaw abortion and its supporters hoped that, had it passed in Mississippi where it appeared on the ballot as Proposition 26 in the recent election, they could use it to overthrow Roe v. Wade at a national level.
The problem most voters had with it, aside from their rights potentially being impeded, was the fact that Prop. 26 would also affect those on birth control. Since Prop. 26 defines the beginning of life as the moment of conception, birth control that prevents fertilized eggs, also known as zygotes, from implanting in the uterine lining could have been banned in Mississippi.
The forms of birth control that fall into this category include intrauterine devices (IUDs) that irritate the uterine lining and prevent implantation of the zygote, birth control pills that do the same and the morning after, or Plan B, pills.
It is a good thing the law did not pass or the Mississippi government would have a lot of angry people on their hands. It does not matter what the women who use these forms of birth control use them for, there would have been hormone-fueled riots in the streets if they were no longer available.
Though the law was rejected in Mississippi, anti-abortionists are still trying to get the measure in other states. Citizens of Florida, Ohio, Oregon, California (good luck with that one), Nevada and Montana are all in line to see Personhood laws worm their way onto their ballots.
Frankly, the Personhood laws should not and cannot pass in any state. If it so much as gets its toe in the door it could lead to major changes in the legal system. We may as well go back to the Dark Ages where the only way to not get pregnant was to lock up your naughty bits in uncomfortable metal undergarments and never bathe.
Personhood is a slap to the face of those who fought for Roe v. Wade and women’s rights, and to those who continue to fight for them. Forty years of progress, including free birth control for all women with insurance starting next August, would be completely obsolete. The successful passing of this law will be catastrophic, and a serious insult to women and their rights.
There are women who are reliant on various forms of birth control for reasons that vary just as much. They have a right to do whatever they want to with their bodies, and the government has no right to attempt to monitor or regulate individual bodies. Abortion and birth control should not be political issues – the fact that they are is just plain ridiculous. There are bigger issues out there than personal health, such as the tanking economy.
People have their reasons for being against abortion, and you know what, you are allowed to have those reasons. You are not allowed to use those reasons to impede other people's rights. Just because you or your significant other would not get an abortion does not mean others do not have their reasons for doing so.