Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mississippi's personhood amendment

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.


Anonymous said...

I would expect nothing less from a Priest who sits within a denomination that supports unfettered abortion rights. Heck, you have a dean of a seminary shouting "abortion is a blessing"...all while the innocent are murdered and ripped from the womb. How you sleep at night is beyond me...

George Clifford said...

Sadly, you've missed me basic point: the proposed constitutional amendment was so broad in scope that it would have produced unintended, tragic consequences. I think it impossible to define justice to include finding a woman who is grieving in the wake of an accidental miscarriage guilty of manslaughter.