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In Mississippi, common sense isn’t September 9, 2011

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Ethics, Freedom, Religion.

The Mississippi Supreme Court has allowed a “Personhood Amendment” to appear on the state ballot this November:

Voters in Mississippi will be given a chance to decide whether life begins at conception, a controversial abortion-related ballot initiative that the state’s highest court has refused to block…

The measure would amend the constitution to extend “personhood” to the unborn, likely rendering abortions illegal in the state if upheld…

“Although our opponents were beaten in this lawsuit, we know that they will not stop in their desperate attempts to deny the obvious truth that life begins at conception and that every life deserves to be protected in the law,” said Steve Crampton, general counsel of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel. “Not only Mississippians, but all Americans, should support this commonsense amendment.”

Really? Every life deserves to be protected in the law? How about cockroaches? Or spiders? Or bacteria? Their lives aren’t protected in law — nor should they be, because (as far as we can tell) they lack the cognitive complexity necessary to make them worthy of our moral concern. I challenge the Liberty Counsel (which apparently doesn’t care about the liberties of pregnant women) to provide an empirical criterion for “personhood” that applies to human zygotes but not to insects. This is no more a matter to be decided by popular vote than whether women or blacks or gays are to be considered full-fledged persons (irrespective of some people’s so-called “common sense”).

Now, where did the Liberty Counsel get the idea that zygotes are persons? Is it a result of extensive research in embryology and neuroscience and psychology? Hint: the Liberty Counsel’s board of directors has adopted a “Christian doctrinal statement.” As 9/11 approaches, we should remember the consequences of basing one’s worldview on dogma.



1. Instant personhood | Butterflies and Wheels - September 9, 2011

[…] H/t Ezra Resnick. […]

2. yossi - September 13, 2011

I never thought of myself as having been a zygote. Sounds like one of those civilizations from Star Trek.

Your point is well taken. When they say “all life” they are speaking without thinking since, if pressed for an answer, I think they would say that they don’t mean to include spiders, flys, etc..

I also want to know since when do we leave these matters up to a vote.

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