November 8th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'Personhood’ measure stirs heated debate

Comment of the morning:

“Wouldn't creating a life through in vitro fertilization be ‘pro-life?' ” - centrisright

Mississippi amendment taking heat

Voters in Mississippi on Tuesday will face one of the most controversial measures on ballots nationwide. Mississippians will vote on whether to amend the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception, which would eliminate abortion, including in the cases of rape and incest. Initiative 26 would define "personhood" as "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof." The measure would also outlaw certain forms of birth control and the destruction of embryos in laboratories, putting in vitro fertilization procedures in question because of the resulting unused fertilized eggs.

CNN.com readers were largely against the measure.

EurekaJim said, “Yup. The party of ‘less government" except when they want the government to do something they want it to do.”

ovipconsult said, “Mississippi being the poorest (or at least one of the poorest states) with one of the highest unemployment rate in the country, and many still live in poverty ... and abortion is what they really care about? My goodness. Politicians should just go hide in the cave. Judges ...  should just be removed if they want to control women's productive organs.”

BubbaJ said, “Eliminating abortion, Social Security and Medicare are their primary goals. They have become the party of ‘100% support for life ... when it's a fetus. Once it's out, it's on its own."

1alicia1 said, “Have you read recently the world population count? Enough already. How about giving out condoms on the street corner in every town?”

bobthemoose said, “This bill would not force anyone into a lifetime of unwanted motherhood. In all 50 states in the union it is perfectly legal for a woman to give up custody of a newborn to the state with no further responsibility on the part of the woman, and legal mechanisms in place to prevent them from being tracked down at a later date.”

sam0326 said, “I'm shocked that an obstetrician would support this amendment. What happens in the case of ectopic pregnancies, when allowing the egg to develop will kill the mother and there is no chance of the egg developing into a viable fetus? How about other cases when the mother's life is (in) danger? Cancer during pregnancy occurs in 1/1,000 pregnancies. Are those woman expected to forgo treatment to prevent killing an embryo? Most people don't realize the implications of this amendment; voting for religious and emotional reasons instead of evidence and understanding is dangerous.”

Darkwolf57 responded, “There is also the fact that 1/2 to 3/4 of all ‘persons’ (actually ‘concepti’) are aborted spontaneously. If ‘personhood’ does indeed begin at conception, then God himself is a mass murderer, according to this amendment. This, to me, is likely the most asinine measure to ever come before the voters."

salvat said, “My daughters were born via IVF. I dare you to tell me that my wife and I were wrong to go through the procedure to have our daughters. If my government tells me I cannot have children or I was wrong to have children the way I did, it will cease to be my government."

ChipsHandon said, “Government's main responsibility in forming legislation is to protect the safety and well-being of its citizens. What is being legislated is when citizenship begins for unborn humans. I think we can all agree that if you push your wife down the stairs on her way to go give birth, you are committing murder, not abortion, since the child was 100% ready to enter this world. Enter the gray area between conception and birth where life, citizenship, and jurisdiction under our laws become vague. Clearly, if an unborn child is ready to live outside of the womb, to kill it is to take a life; however, when does a pregnancy cross that threshold? This is the debate. When does abortion become murder?”

Do you feel your views align with those of these commenters? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    The best contribution to "personhood" is still the essay which I wrote this year as part of my MA in philosophy: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/desires-and-values/

    November 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. picomanning

    It's dangerous that sound critical thinking would be thought of as controversial except by politically correct conclusions. When political bias ignores sound thinking we can be sure the closed eyes and closed minds will establish our future on a greater likelyhood of false premise for America. And future historians who'll someday dig through our ashes, will be confounded by our self-defeating rationizations.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Walking Zombie

    I'm thinking of building a snowman again this year, but am wondering if a snowperson is a better idea given the political climate. I built a snowwoman when i was a kid but got whooped by my dad. So maybe a bi-snexurnal or an transvesticle smowperson might make my yard more acceptable and less offensive?

    November 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jerry C RI @ picomanning

    I like the way you think.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pmk1953

    By their logic, I bought a dozen chickens the other day. I ate scrambled chickens for breakfast today.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • CG

      How do you know the eggs were fertilized? Or were you just being ignorant in your comment by not knowing the difference between fertilized and unfertilized chicken eggs?

      November 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • justathought

      Eggs that you buy at the store are not fertelized, they would never become chickens, nor do I think you would want to eat a fertilized egg, because most of the time there is a little blood in them.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pro-life

      So, in your logic, children are on the same level as a chicken? wow...

      November 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. El Kababa

    Do all pregnant women take good care of themselves? Surely many miscarriages would not have occurred if the failed mother had exercised, watched her weight, eaten properly, avoided drinking while pregnant, received appropriate pre-natal attention, etc.

    Mississippi will have to create a new Pregnancy Police Unit to investigate miscarriages. After all, if a dead person falls out of a woman, who is the mostl likely murderer? It is surely the woman herself.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • CG

      Yep. So if I see a pregnant woman smoking, I can now do a Citizen's Arrest, because child abuse is a felony. Pretty cool...need to go buy some handcuffs and a Tazer.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Walking Zombie

    @pico...your idea of a future America resembles what I've seen for many many years. Did you copy/paste that from an 1998 website or something? "Critical thinking" went out the door with "simple understanding" years ago for the avg. American who now comprehends information at the 8th grade level. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey 2002-2006, about 1/4 of adult citizens are entirely incabable of gathering information from text. Like, if it's not in a video, one fourth of us aren't able to understand it. Yep, your future is my yesterday. The future I see is so far out there, people here say I'm cRazY. he he Like that really was an captured Nazi BMW model J-38 Flying Saucer that crashed at Roswell, NM.Those claiming aliens abducted them...on the UFO chats, they realllly get mad at me. Like I ruined their birthday party or something. (shrug) 🙂

    November 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Walking Zombie

    @El Kabana...ouch. Mommy? he he. And just so ya know, those prematal vitamins aren't really vitamins. They are chemicals that kill natural proteins called prions, and see to it that your child will require the good doktors care if in fact that child grows to become an aspirin/OTC med addict or is forced to get a "flu shot" that disables his/her immune system for 3 weeks. Ho-hum...who cares. right?

    November 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry C RI

    Is every post here dissected by Walking Zombie? Does nobody's opinion matter but Walking Zombie's?

    November 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pam

    I hope these voters don't take women back into the stone ages where if they did not want or need another mouth to feed they resorted to the old clothes hanger. I just can't wrap my self around the fact that some people want to tell others what they should and should not do with their own body. Until a child is born it is a part of the woman's body. It is nursished by her blood. Keep abortion legal. What we do not need is more unwanted abused children. We have enough already.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    Most people believe that life begins at birth – baby's first breath. Let's go with the majority so we are not still debating this in 3011. More important is our national debt, now $17,000,000,000,000 spinning out of control. Our security and freedom is at stake.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john

    Typical right wing insanity they want to define is a human is a human but corporations are people, what lunatics! Dont vote GOP they are crazy and stupid.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      I agree with you John. What is wrong with those people? They don't want abortion but they sure don't want to pass laws that will feed and house the unwanted child. You can't have it both ways folks. If you want every woman to deliver that baby, even though she can't support it, then all you Republicans MUST adopt one or pass laws to care for them.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SIS

    You all complain about this vote, watch what happens if it passes...other states will follow.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sarah the Stench that Stays and Stays and Stays

    Out of my uterus Mississippi!

    November 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Phil

    If an abortion is done in the first three months – a woman is simply removing an egg that has become fertilized and nothing but a mass of tissues. After that 90 days it should not be done unless the baby is deformed or the mother's life is at risk. It is better that it not see life than to be unwanted and abused. About adoption there are thousands of unwanted children ready for a new home but why do our citizens go over seas to adopt? I don't get it. It should be against the laws of the USA for people to bring those kids here when there are children here.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Should be left to the woman. I don't like government dictating morality. Too much government intervention in our lives as it is.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Abortion is a personal decision. States must stay out of this. Scary!

      November 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helena

      That is not true. It has been scientifically proven that after 3 weeks of fertilization, that "mass of tissue" has a heart and a spinal chord. It is science, not pro-choice blabber.
      I do agree with you that more children from the US should be adopted.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Candy

      You are correct Helena but it is still only a mass of tissue not a baby. Break a chicken egg that has been fertilized yes you can see some tissue but is that a chicken? There is nothing in this world more special than a loved and wanted baby but there is nothing so horrible as a baby that is unwanted, unloved and abused and killed after breathing life. So abortion is the way to go for many and they should always have that choice. They will if I have anything to do about it.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
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