Thank God, voters in Mississippi rejected the proposed personhood amendment to their state constitution. The amendment would have made a fertilized embryo a legal person.
Even for opponents of abortion, this step would have had potentially major and presumably unintended consequences. For example, a woman who did not know she was pregnant smoked or got drunk, perhaps unknowingly injuring the fetus in her womb. Would she be guilty of assault? If a pregnant woman had an accident that caused a miscarriage, would the woman be criminally guilty of manslaughter for causing the accidental death of a legal person?
Legislative attempts to impose morality in the absence of a broad consensus in support of the standard (e.g., that murder and child abuse are wrong) have consistently created more problems than solutions. Imposing moral standards in the absence of consensus and relying on unproven presumptions (i.e., personhood begins at fertilization) seems a certain recipe for disaster.