Should People Who Oppose Abortion also Oppose “Personhood” Measures?

Lynn Paltrow

While people opposed to abortion believe separate rights for the “unborn” will have a limited impact only on the right to abortion, there are many cases in which "personhood" arguments have been used to punish women going to term.

This
week, Colorado and Montana Right to Life groups and Personhood USA
announced they will submit new initiatives to get “Personhood” laws on
the ballot in 2010. These laws would recognize the “unborn,” from the
moment of fertilization, as full persons under state constitutional
law. Based on a variety of cases in which claims of fetal rights have
been used to justify deprivation of pregnant women’s fundamental rights
to life and liberty it is clear that these measures will have a
significant impact on all pregnant women including those who have no
intention of ending a pregnancy.


The following video by National Advocates for Pregnant Women
documents the experiences of such women – including women who are
profoundly opposed to abortion. Fortunately, these horrific cases do
not represent controlling legal precedent.  Some of them were
overturned on appeal. Those cases that survived did so only as
exceptional outliers, in part, because the “unborn” are not treated as
separate legal persons under the law.

While people opposed to abortion may hope that establishing
separate rights for the “unborn” will have a limited and targeted
impact only on the right to abortion, here’s a small
sample of the many cases in which fetal rights/personhood arguments
have been used to police and punish women going to term.


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According to Personhood USA, legislators in at least five states are sponsoring bills that would give the unborn full state constitutional rights from the moment of fertilization.
In North Dakota, such a bill has already passed in the House.
What Personhood USA and the legislators supporting these bills arent telling you is that these bills, if enacted, could hurt all pregnant women.

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