Mississippians will go to the polls on November 8 to decide whether a fertilized egg has the full legal rights of a person. They will vote on the Mississippi Personhood Amendment, Ballot Measure 26, whose radical premise, if approved, will upend women’s health, established law, medical judgment, religious liberty, and common sense.
If the Personhood Amendment becomes law, common methods of birth control will be illegal in Mississippi. Certain forms of in vitro fertilization will be illegal. Abortion will be illegal—with no exceptions even for rape, incest, or the life of the woman. And law enforcement will be authorized to criminally investigate women who’ve had a miscarriage to make sure they didn’t intentionally induce an abortion, which would be murder.
But that’s not all. The word “person” is used more than 9,400 times in Mississippi legal codes. If the term is expanded to include a fertilized egg—even one that hasn’t attached to a woman’s uterus, which half of all fertilized eggs never do—the resulting legal chaos, increased expense, and human suffering will be staggering. For instance, issues of citizenship, taxation, equal protection under the law, and child neglect could all be expanded to include a fertilized egg.
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