The Mississippi amendment alters the state’s Constitution so that “the term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.” Nearly identical language appears in three bills that have been endorsed by scores of Republicans in Congress, including top House committee chairmen Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).
Like the Mississippi measure, these bills, which are not constitutional amendments, would extend the rights of legal personhood—including equal protection under the law—to a zygote, the single cell formed when a human sperm fuses with an egg…
Like the Mississippi amendment, none of the personhood bills being considered in Congress contain any exemptions for victims of rape or incest.
Sixty-three House Republicans, or over a quarter of the GOP conference, are cosponsors of HR 212, Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-Ga.) “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which includes language that directly parallels that of the Mississippi personhood amendment. That bill declares that “the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent…at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” Five committee chairmen, including budget wunderkind Ryan, support the bill. “There is no greater protection that we as a government can give to protect human beings all the way from the time of fertilization until they have natural deaths,” Broun says.
Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-Calif.) HR 374, an ever-so-slightly tweaked version that includes a clause that says it does not “require”(although it does allow) “the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child,” has even more cosponsors—91, including Bachmann (R-Minn.). Nearly 40 percent of House Republicans back this bill, which, like HR 212 and the Mississippi amendment, has language saying that “human persons” exist from “the moment of fertilization” or from any “other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”
In the Senate, Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has introduced S 91, a companion bill to HR 374. Wicker has said he hopes his bill will “settle this important life issue once and for all.” More than a quarter of Senate Republicans back the proposal.
(All emphasis mine)
Should these bills become law, not only would abortion—a constitutional right—be legally equivalent to murder, but so would the morning after pill/Plan B and intrauterine devices (IUDs). Indeed, even spontaneous abortions/miscarriages in the earliest stages of pregnancy could be criminally prosecutable if there’s evidence that the women in question were doing anything that might have contributed.
The redefinition of zygotes as legal ‘persons’ is a de facto redefinition of women as zygote-carriers. Republican lawmakers are trying to give more self-determination and protection rights to cells than to women. The GOP is anti-woman and pro-zygote—don’t ever forget that.
(Source: Mother Jones)
But while that fertilized egg may or may not signal the beginning of personhood, there’s one thing it definitely does not begin. Medically, at least, fertilization does not mark the beginning of pregnancy.
“The medical community has really been quite clear about when pregnancy begins,” says Dan Grossman, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of California, San Francisco, “and that definition is that pregnancy begins once implantation occurs.”
That would be the implantation of the fertilized egg into the woman’s uterus. One reason doctors don’t consider a woman pregnant until after implantation is a practical one — that’s when pregnancy can be detected by hormone changes in her urine.
But there’s another reason, Grossman says. “It’s really only about half of those fertilized eggs [that] actually result in an ongoing pregnancy.”
The rest of the fertilized eggs either never begin dividing or never implant. Or they do implant but spontaneously abort. That can happen so early in pregnancy that the woman never even knows she was pregnant.
So from a medical point of view, considering every fertilized egg a person, with a person’s full rights, wouldn’t make a lot of sense, he says.