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. pathfinder

    When a fetus emerges from it's mother and takes it's first independent breath it becomes a baby. Until that time it is part of it's mother where it is nurtured towards independence. In the end, it is a mother's decision to decide what to do about the fetus which is dependent on her. Because there is life does not mean that there is a baby, it means that there is a potential baby over which the mother must have ultimate control. Neither the gov't or anyone else should be dictating what a mother should do.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      And this is where family law needs to catch up to 2011. If the mother and only the mother as a say in the child. Then the mother and only the mother should have responsibility. As it stands the mother has the rights and both mother and father have the responsibility. This is not equality ladies.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goddog

      Sean, Are you being sarcastic? You're upset becasue you have to pay for a child that you created, just because the Woman can choose to keep it or not? Here is how it works; Man/Woman equally responsible for having intercourse. Woman's choice of what to do with pregnancy because it is HER body. Man/Woman equally resposible for Baby if born. How does making your child suffer in life sound fair to you? I can't think of a scenario where you shouldn't be financially resposible. It sounds like you're a dead-beat in the making, if not already.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pat Osborne

    If this proposed "personhood" law were in place when my mother was in her childbearing years, I wouldn't be here. She would have died during one of her miscarraiges in the 50s. A lot of other women coudl probably say the same thing.

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

      How would this "personhood" law have affected her in any way Pat? How or why would you not be here? What would the law have done to change things?

      November 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jester & jackal

    One question. Who is gonna pay for this?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Only one question and you couldn’t be more specific?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bird is the word

      After the baby is born? We will.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    NO ONE counts till they're slapped on the ass and named-PERIOD, END OF STORY.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • KAITLYN

      Are you serious, Jim? You are serious, aren't you? God bless us all and Mississippi, be careful.......be very careful! Maybe there's a reason your state is so poor and well, pitiful. Jim, are you from Mississippi or just from somewhere that you got slapped on the a$$, took a breath and went on your merry way?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. choices

    Though I would never abort any child I would carry I do believe in pro CHOICE. It is the mothers/parents choice to abort the fetus. NOT the government.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      What does the father get? All this independence is nice and I support a woman’s right to chose. However where does the rights of the father come in? Does he not get a choice? Or just the bill?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. the chick who says "meh"

    and after bestowing personhood on zygotes, mississippians plan to celebrate by burning goody bishop in the town square as a witch.

    good grief.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SciFiChickie

    I don't think abortion is a valuable choice, especially when there are so many people who want children that can not have them. BUT that does not mean that other women should not have the choice to make for themselves. No one should have the right to tell me or any other American citizen what they can and can not do with THEIR OWN BODY, If they wanna do drugs, get a tattoo, pierce every thing pierce able, or have an abortion. It's THEIR BUSINESS and not YOURS, so stay the hell out of it...

    November 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean Blevins (not the sportscaster)

      I think the issue isn't "her own body" but rather the other, separate body (complete with separate brain, separate circulatory system, in most cases separate blood type, etc) she is carrying.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jim

    Parental licensing in which EVERYONE has to have Norplant would end the abortion debate.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      You have my vote.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • desertlady

      Jim, sounds like a plan to me! I think if someone votes yes for this amendment, they should immediately schedule a vasectomy or tubal ligation.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Embryologist

    The embryonic genome takes over at the 6-8 cell stage of embryo development (the 3rd day of development). To say that life begins at fertilization is just plain incorrect. Even after this stage, the embryo must travel down the oviduct and into the uterus (at the same time develop to the blastocyst stage) where it must hatch from the zona and successfully implant into the lining of the uterus. It is not until then, that the components of maintaining a human life are in line for proper development and function, and even that cannot be guaranteed at that point. Debating when life begins is a matter of personal opinion to most, so beating a dead horse over it is going to get this country nowhere. I just wish the wording that is being thrown around in this case was at least researched scientifically before being presented before the public.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Observer

    Jobs, jobs and more jobs. That's the Republican motto. Ohhhh. Wait a minute. I see. This is more important this week.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michele

    Are these the same people who want government out of their lives? Who think the government has no right to limit their ownership of assault weapons? But the government in a woman's uterus??? Oh yeah, that's OK with the wing nuts. What a bunch of hypocrites.......they prove again that the religious right is neither.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jackson

    Why not pass a law outlawing mastectomies? I mean, we're all in favor of breasts, right? So therefore, removing them should be illegal. Even in cases of cancer. I mean, if you're going to force a 13-year-old girl to carry the child of her rapist, why not force a 40-year-old woman to carry a cancerous breast?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Why do people think that pro-choice means pro-abortion? It is *not* the same at all!
    I am pro-choice.
    I personally am anti-abortion.
    See?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helaine

      That is the crux of the proverbial biscuit, I think. One does not have to personally endorse abortion to respect another's right to choose differently. Thank you for that!

      November 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • SciFiChickie

      I agree with you 100% i'm anit abortion for my self, but I'm pro choice for others. It's your body it's your choice!

      November 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Black Beauty

      your on the fence where everyone LIKES you and that's the MOST important thing to you. Not weather a human life from the point of conception IS life PERIOD!!!!!!!! what a DUMMY

      November 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • LK

      Jazzz, pretending to be black isn't going to keep people from noticing you. You and your little friend just can's stand it when banasy has someone agree with her, can you? She's not on the fence: she said she is anti-abortion but pro-choice. Why is that so hard for you to comprehend? By the way, it's WHETHER. wEATHER IS WHAT'S GOING ON WHEN IT "RAINS", get it?

      November 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Helaine

    It is idiocy for anyone to support the idea that it would be okay for the government of the United States to mandate the carrying to full term of any pregnancy. The anti-choice rallying cry of "we're speaking for god" reinforces what arrogant and narrow people they are. That largely christian cadre - like its hisorical predecessors - is still trying to bully people into believing that god is ts exclusive property, the truth about which being known only to them, the voice of which spoken only through them. They hijack god and patriotism as their own, and use them as weapons against true Democracy and Freedom. Anyone who understands what the true nature of America is will oppose any attempt to restrict the freedom to reproduce when and if one chooses.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Margaret

    I hate to say this but some parts of the U.S. are becoming more like the Taliban every day. You cannot fight a war to bring democracy to another Country while removing the rights of people in your own Country.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
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