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. SC

    Here is the post-election spin that will be hear on this one:

    From the Republican Party-
    If it does not pass – it is a local issue and has no national relevance
    If it passes – This is a referendum on the morals of the nation and a repudiation of Obama's moral policies.

    From the Democratic Party –
    If it passes – it is a local issue with no national relevance
    If it does not pass – this is a repudiation of the Tea Party's attempts to inject moral issues into the national political discourse

    November 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    If life begins at conception, Adam and Eve were never alive.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • SciFiChickie

      good point

      November 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Confused woman

      Soooo If I get pregnant and don't know I'm pregnant and get drunk can I be prosecuted for child abuse or attempted murder? If I miscarry would I end up in jail? More government or less?????

      November 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gene Brady

    Interresting........ a state that has no respect for human life is up in arms about abortion!!! How many black men were left hanging from trees, burned alive, beaten to death, set on fire, etc. and they have the nerve to play this farce!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jess C

      You make a very strong point! Something so blatently wrong about all this reverance for a bundle of undeveloped cells yet once it actually is born and is viable on its own...no one gives a damn.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    So ... how many votes do identical twins get? They're the same person.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      Bill, Bill, Bill.....Identical Twins are TWO separate people. How old are you?

      November 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Magenta

      Cynthia, not at conception. Identical twins come from a single fertilized egg. They are separate only when that egg inexplicably splits, sometime after conception. That is what makes them identical.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • parentof6

      Actually they are identical DNA, their sibblings will be half brother and sister.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Truth Betold

    This article is utterly misleading, and I can say that with absolute certainty kowing nothing about the law in question. First, no state, nor the federal government can place the life of a baby over that of the mother, if the life of the mother is in jeopardy. This extends to health, since anything significantly jeopardizing the health of the mother, CAN be potentially life threatening to the mother, and legislators cannot define this, it is solely in the hands of the doctor. No state or federal law can change that.

    The "health" clauses that pro-abortion Democrats always try to include, is a sabotage clause, as for these purposes they consider mental health to be included whenever the word health is used, and they have established case law so that mental health includes even mild clinical depression, which in reality, anyone can be clinically diagnosed as having. I have no idea if I would support this bill, but the polital arguments on the pro-abortionside are always propagandized this way. Joseph Goebbels would be green with envy.

    I do, however, support an absolute ban on late term third trimester abortions, with no exceptions, since life, (and health), of the mother is immutable as described above. This is the substance of virtually every so called "anti-abortion" law proposed in the last 20 years, with only a few exceptions. When the spin is put-aside, the vast majority of even ardent pro-choice people I've spoken with agree with me on this matter. Late term abortions take place AFTER the baby is born, with the doctor simply holding it's leg in the birth canal, while driving a large steel tipped suction tube into it’s head, killing the viable baby while the umbilical is still attached. There is never a time where this is better for the mother. One can, even at that late moment, or any other for that matter, opt for adoption, and inside 24 hours there will be 3 couples who have spent piles of money, time, and have waited over 5 years to adopt a newborn. Vetting standards are rigorous, and no child could ask for a more potentially loving home. The mother, if she wishes, can be given the files of the prospective parents and can choose.

    Why would anybody have such a monstrous procedure performed, when such wonderful alternatives are available, especially given that the outcome for the mother is better, and less traumatizing.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhioGal

      Most third trimester abortions are performed because the baby has severe birth defects and the treatments the child will receive seem so horrible the parents feel the kindest thing that they can do for their baby is to have an abortion. Unfortunately, natural death isn't allowed to happen even if there is no good outcome and even if the child will only suffer through a very short, painful life.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeMazzla

      No one has a late term third tri abortion just because..its always done because either the baby is severly deformed, or sick or whatever or the mothers life is in danger.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • zip

      What part of mind your own business do you not get? There is nothing worse than right wing filth that wants government out of their lives, but demands government gets involved in this. America is on to you. Your time in the spotlight is just about over.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Late term abortions can also happen in cases where a child has been impregnated and hides it.

      NEVER say never.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. OhioGal

    I think that if this measure passes there will be a backlash against the Republican party. It is seen by more and more people as trying to control their personal lives while at the same time doing nothing at all that could help improve our economy. This may rev up the Republican base but that base is ever shrinking into a tiny group of people.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just as I Thought

      Read Psalms 139: 13-16 to see what God says concerning this matter. God saw you and I even when we were in our Mothers' wombs and recorded our physical features in a Book! Of course you Liberal Democrats are far too intelligent and superior to believe that a Supernatural God could do such things......just keep believing the way you believe and one day you will stand before a Thrice Holy God and give an account for all these things! May God have mercy on you and all your Liberal friends on that day!

      November 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      “God’ isn’t a registered voter he gets no say.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • v_mag

      A fertilized egg is far down the path to "personhood". When are the Repugnants going to come clean and admit that a sperm is living? Life begins the moment a sperm or egg is formed, and anyone who kills one of those zillion sperm is a murderer! Any woman who dares to menstruate is destroying a potential life! Round up all the offenders and try them for murder, Mississippi! That should keep you busy for awhile.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • zip

      Jesus was a liberal, you mindless piece of filth.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Just as I Thought,

      You might try reading the rest of the Bible. The Bible NEVER MENTIONS abortion. Just wishful thinking on your part.

      The Bible offers more to SUPPORT abortion than oppose abortion. Again, try reading it.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • parentof6

      Zip, were you abused as a child?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin McGonigal

    II admit that the personhood of the unborn is doubtful. But whenever we are in doubt that a person may be alive, say in a house fire, drowning, trapped in a wrecked car, we operate on the principle that since we cannot know for sure if the person is alive we will give the injured, missing, or trapped the benefit of the doubt and proceed on the basis that he may be alive and make every effort to preserve life. I think we should do this until science can prove that the unborn are not living human beings.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Your statement is horrible flawed. You’ve ask the wrong question and there for the rest of your comment is moot. The question isn’t where the ‘person’ is alive. But is the microscopic collection of cells a person. A plant is alive… that doesn’t make it a person.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. asdf

    Why is it I always hear dueling banjos playing the background when I read news stories about Mississippi? You would think a state ranked 50th in everything would care about more than the cultural wars. Guess thats why generation after generation they stay poor.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shannon

    Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation, is #3 for least educated and has had the highest obesity rate for the last 6 years! The last thing we should be doing is encouraging these people to have more children.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mabel floyd

      this type of bill usually comes from one of the low IQ states. this state is not know for having a high IQ.
      the next time texas or one of the other low IQ states like miss. wants to secede from the union-LET THEM GO. they are more trouble than they are worth. we citizens of the united states will not miss them.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chantal Lace

    Mississippi is so impoverished already and holds the worst rate of illiteracy in the nation. This proposed amendment makes me sick–a total symbol of misogyny. Instead of enacting this disgraceful "law," why don't elected officials focus on addressing the state's real problems?

    November 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sillybean

    Wow, I'm astounded. Hundreds of years of progress in the area of women's rights and equality and we STILL HAVE A BUNCH OF MEN SITTING AROUND ARGUING AND LEGISTATING WOMEN'S NAUGHTY BITS. Can we please leave the baby-making or lack there of to the women who's bodies it ACTUALLY takes place in????

    Seriously, MOVE ON!!!!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. v_mag

    Life plainly begins BEFORE conception. You cannot look at a wiggling sperm under a microscope and tell me it is not alive. Therefore, the State of Mississippi is NOT pro-life enough. They ought to be arresting every adolecent boy for killing sperm willy-nilly, so to speak. Then, they can go after all those women aborting living eggs every 28 days.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mabel floyd

    so any time a women has a miscarriage a police investigation may be started. i had two miscarriages-and since i am pro-choice i can see i would be in trouble.
    my daughter, who is pro"life' 6 miscarriages -gues she would get the death penalty.
    and these are the people who say they was less gov.
    i bet the lawyers are thrilled with tis evangelical crap!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. InMississippi

    Hmmmm. Mr Barbour voted for this law in Mississippi .... even though he was a lobbyist IN DC till he was picked to run for governor ... and he will leave the state and go back to lobbying after his term is over. He has no dog in this hunt and can laugh while watching what happens.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. InMississippi

    for Just as I Thought

    You need to keep religion out of government. The current protastant majority has not even been the majority during my lifetime, and will not be for very much longer. When a group of another faith is in power, this type of law can be used against you.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
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