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. sharon

    So, you will get a tax write off on insemination. Frozen embryos would qualify as deductions. We can rewrite laws regarding child abuse to insemination so visible at-risk behavior can be prosecuted and we would have to incarcerate until the "person" became independently viable to protect them. You thought Child Protective Services is busy now!!

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

      Like the Medieval theological discussions conducted very seriously about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, just think about the number of lawyers who are watching this vote with keen interest, as it is that group that will profit from its passage.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Forget the tax write-offs. Welfare. SS.

      "I got 347 babies banked."

      November 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sharon

    Republicans only love you until you are born

    November 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. phyllis

    I am not for abortion, but this is just the most confusing mess i have every witness.......I have to go and vote on this today, and I am not liking this one bit............peace out....

    November 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Neeneko

    Ah.. ha... so a small bundle of cells would be a 'person', but thinking/feeling non-human animals are still ok to do anything you want to.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Google is a "person".

      November 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Republican for Obama

    Happy Abortion Day!

    November 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LogicalThinker

    One likely outcome of forced continuance of pregnancies through the action of this law will be an increase in the voluntary surrender of newborns by mothers incapable of caring for the babies. This will thrust the cost of the care onto the local governments and state. It will also increase the number of babies available for adoption if the government chooses to support that avenue. Another likely outcome will be the increased use of proven contraceptive measures and perhaps a reduction in STDs for that reason.
    Let's assume the measure passes and people continue to use IVF. The most logical outcome here will be the increased costs of preserving indefinitely the fertilized eggs at higher cost and perhaps a huge increase in the cost of IVF itself or a cessation of the business as no one remains willing to fund the indefinite preservation of fertilized eggs. What about those? They really cannot be preserved indefinitely, as their viability reduces over a period of time, and so they will be lost.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Doesn't matter.

      The process of freezing embryos damages or destroys some embryos. Unfreezing does likewise.

      Every person that is responsible for frozen embryos will be arrested and jailed for murder, child abuse, endangerment, etc.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. James Conroy, MD

    Usage of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs or failure to use a seat belt during a collision by a pregnant women will be harmful to the "person" being carried inside her, and thus the mother will be criminally negligent by harming the embryo. Let's think out the unintended consequences of such legislation

    November 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I'm more worried about mothers trying to put their 3 day old embryo in a car seat.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • parentof6

      Don't we already arrest people for smoking in public?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hsiaobai

    Funny for a state that until recently hung fully grown people from trees until they were dead, ranks 5th in teen pregnancy, and has the death penalty. My religion says "personhood" begins at birth. Do not impose your moral view on me. Jefferson, Hamilton and company would not have.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      My religion defines "personhood" in relation to intelligence.

      Time to perform a few abortions...

      November 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John A

    All people giving tickets for driving/drinking/slash any thing with an age limit just got 9 months older

    November 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I like it.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LogicalThinker

    Among the logical outcomes of success in passing this law will be the increase in voluntary sterilization of men who will take themselves out of the running to become involuntary fathers. This could be interesting, with emphasis now passing from women's right to control their bodies to that of men to become sterile.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JoeT

    2 thoughts:

    1. Does anyone else here remember the Coneheads (I'm talking Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain) referring to scrambled eggs as "fired chicken embryos?"

    2. Given the likely outcome of this vote, will the next one be to make the state bird of Mississippi the coathanger?

    November 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Todd in DC

    Guess the back alley abortions will be making a come back in Mississippi. Glad to know that in Mississippi, education is perfect, the economy is strong, crime is low, and everything important has been taken care of so well, that now the government can decide whether a woman with an ectopic pregnancy is worth saving.

    And I say Lincoln was nuts to try to keep the Union together. The southern states are one big outhouse, minus the ambiance.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hahaney

    "And if men struggle and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
    Exodus 21:22-25
    Apparently even the Bible doesn't consider the unborn as a person. Only a fine for causing the death of a fetus.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth Betold

      What a moron. If it wasn't a person, there wouldn't be a fine. Just an eye for an eye etc...

      November 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. El Kababa

    The root of this bill is the idea of Fundamentalists and Evangelicals that egg, sperm, and soul are all joined at the moment of conception.

    This seems to make miscarriage a crime of premeditation or negligence. About 25% of all pregnancies miscarry. We're going to need a new branch of government: the Pregnancy Police, who will investigate all miscarriages and advise the district attorney on the potential prosecution of the failed mother.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean Blevins (not the sportscaster)

      Reductio ad absurdum is an extremely lazy method of debate.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Grim Jester

    Personhood is totally overrated.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
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