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. mary

    How can there even be a debate.?
    The time to assure no child will be created is 'before' the sperm meets the egg.. Easy enough.
    No sperm or egg alone turned into a human being.
    Afterwards.. ?
    Is there any real doubt what happens after the fact?
    so why is there such a debate? Even a need for a debate?
    Don't let sperm meet egg and then three truly is nothing to debate.. Afterwards? We don't have the right to intervene.
    Isn't it really all to simple?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      "Isn't it really all to simple?'

      Absolutely not. If you were pregnant and needed an abortion to save your life, you MIGHT want to have some input. It's really SIMPLE to pretend you want the government to tell you that you couldn't have an operation to save your life or that of a daughter, sister, or mother of yours.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Observer

      Sorry.. But the government is involved in many other situations and must be.. What if some one shot you?
      You want no laws ?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Mary,

      Wow! You claim that by opposing this law I am saying we should have no laws?

      Get serious. If your life was at stake, you KNOW you would want to be able to be part of the decision. Cut out the "simple" thinking.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Observer

      You are the one being absurd..
      who protect the unborn..?
      Like I said.. no spern alone ever grew into a child.. NO egg alone ever did..
      Want to prevent the whole debate? use birth control..
      Otherwise.. I dont care if you don't agree.. I feel some one should be looking out for the life of the unborn...
      whether you like it or not.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Mary,

      Talk about someone being absurd, if you had a frail 11-year-old daughter who was r@ped and needed an abortion to save her life, would you tell her "tough luck" and watch her slowly die?

      YES or NO?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Observer

      Oh and one more thing..If it wasn't for laws.. Men could still legally beat their wives.. Or keep slaves.. Because for many years women and black people were not considered equal to men/ white men.
      So I hold to the law protecting a unborn child.. in the same way I would have fought to give women and slaves protection..
      It's all a matter of how a person "thinks" of another human and what is an appropriate way to treat it in the end ...Isn't it?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Mary,

      YES or NO?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Observer

      Laws won't stop it anyway..They never did... All these laws will do is go back to calling it what it is..
      Your 12 year old can still have an abortion..Just not a sanctified, public one..
      So get off your high horse...

      November 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Mary,

      Still no answer.

      Would you have your 11-year-old get an abortion to save her life? YES or NO?

      November 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Observer

      I did answer your question.. abortions have been done for thousands of years..
      And will continue to be done.. Like I said your 12 year old can have an abortion.. Just not a public sanctioned one..
      Of course its much better if people think it's all clean and nice and Ok..
      Great.. Tell your daughter that then.. But don't expect the whole world to believe it..
      And as far as people who think abortion is not right being stupid..?
      Thats hog wash.. I don't intimidate easily.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Mary,

      You're not fooling me or ever yourself. Pretending you have reading comprehension problems doesn't fool anyone. I didn't ask about my daughter, I have asked several times about YOUR daughter. Is English a problem for you?

      So what is the answer to the abortion question about YOUR daughter? YES or NO?

      November 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Observer, you've engaged in a battle of wits with an unarmed person. 😉

      November 8, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Good grief..
      People.. Abortions have been done for thousands of years. And will continue to be done..
      Just because the law decided to sanction them and now is thinking of not sanctioning them does not stop abortions..It only changes the legality of them.
      I think the real issue is.. As long as the law says it's OK you can feel good about yourself if you opt for one..
      No one has a right to judge you.. Cause it's "legal".. right?
      You want the world to give you their blessing..
      Well sorry.. Many are not going to do that..
      Do what you will. But don't insist that everyone agree with it..

      November 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Leaf on the Wind

      Yes of course..Only an "idiot" would decide not to bite on observers stupid question~!:(

      November 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Mary, most women who choose abortion are not looking for anyone's approval. It isn't an easy decision, and is made for as many different reasons as there are women. Please stop judging others. It just makes you seem simple.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Leaf on the Wind

      Isn't this a riot? I ask a simple yes or no question and get repeated answer after repeated answer that goes into the history of abortion, which has not a thing in the world to do with the question about what would happen.

      I'll be you don't have any problems in recognizing the word "YOUR". Is this in English for you? I'll bet you can read English.

      Funniest part? So far she has used over 300 words to avoid a simple "YES" or "NO".

      Thanks. 🙂

      November 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • the chick who says "meh"

      ok, i really was going to stay out of this one, but really? you think legality equates universal acceptance? by that token, i guess you're down with worshipping any/no gods, working on sunday, talking back to parents, lying (while not under oath), adultery, divorce, etc, since all those things are legal. what's that? you think those things are bad too???? but....but....they're legal! and if they're legal, by your reasoning (or lack thereof, really) that means you, me and everyone else here must approve of them!

      you can still dislike/be against something even when it's legally allowed. it's actually really easy.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      "Only an "idiot" would decide not to bite on observers stupid question"

      Asking if you'd try to save your daughter's life requires an "idiot" to answer. LOL.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Idiots~!!
      Not one time did I use the bible. to state my opinion...
      Good grief.. children.. Grow up~!!
      Your opinionated and can't stand another point of view.. Like I said ..If you want an abortion.. Go have one.. The law can't 'force' you not to..
      But don't expect that 'everyone' in the world will sanction it for you..

      November 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Maya

    If it can't think, can't feel, can't hope, can't want, then it ISN'T a person.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    So eggs are chickens, now?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Acorns are oak trees.

      November 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    Well Mary life is not simple. If life was as you put it, there would be world peace but alast there is not. You are thinking in terms of consenting adults. What to do when said sperm is by force inserted to meet said egg. Now what?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Sean, that's a valid argument...and one that the father needs to share with the mother. IF daddy is willing to raise the baby after the baby is born, and I mean full-time, without the mother present, I don't think there would be much of a problem...but I don't think that's the reality of it.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DiatribesAndOvations.com

    This isn't an issue about "pro-life" so much as it is about "pro choice". http://wp.me/p1se8R-1pS And the matter was resolved by the Supreme Court years ago.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Very much true. Sadly, the losing end of the argument is looking for any and all ways to re-open the discussion – no matter the cost or absurdity of their argument. They managed to disguise the real issue enough to almost make it sound reasonable, then found a boatload of people with more "faith" than common sense (or ability to think through the issue to a logical conclusion). If hypocrisy were a sign that the end is near, then we can use this vote as a sign of the apocalypse.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    @pmk1953:
    I see that your 2:30 post could have used the sarcasm font.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rhg

    So Mary, every other educated grown woman who has sat down and thought hard about this, and came up with a different answer is incapable of making a "simple decision"? And you want them to raise a child?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      "Educated" ? Ok .. I will go with that.
      I never said these women were stupid. But I will say many choose to believe this clump of cells is not human.. And it is OK to destroy it..
      So does being educated trump emotions? Are these women emotionally getting off free after an abortion?
      Thats really where it matters..
      If they think it's fine.. They won't care..IN which case they can have all the abortions they like.. Just like they used to to do it. Without the whole world telling them they did nothing wrong..
      Why force the world to take a part in it? Do it in secret ..Just like you used to..

      November 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jackie

    Many know from 1929 to the late 1970's North Carolina legally sterilized little black girls and black women funded by wealthy white men and with the full support of the Church and elected officials. The most insane and horrible acts done under the law are not from a third world country but from the USA. Evil pours in the hearts of many and even a minority life is worth less then an animal to many. Blacks have been treated much like what was done in the Hitler area. The Preachers use the bible for their sinful acts and law makers just take the money. Maybe another country can teach the USA human rights and woman's rights because it's lost. Who will protect the children?

    November 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kerry

    I am not Christian. I respect those Christians and others who believe that life begins at fertilization, but I also will not have this emotional and unsubstantiated myth about life imposed on my family and the decisions made by them as individuals. I am disheartened at the arrogance of this minority of extremist social-conservatives. They do not speak for all Americans and to impose their mores and values on others who do not share their beliefs is both morally wrong and it is un-American. It has been said time and time again. If you don't want an abortion, you don't have to have one. However, you do not have the right to intimidate and impose your values on others; nor is it appropriate for legislators in State and Federal Government to impose the dogma of these religions on our nation as this violates separation of church and state and "freedom of religion" (and its corollary freedom from religion".) It is a divisive issue that is obfuscating efforts to resolve real social problems in this nation, namely, unemployment, increase in poverty, a terrible health care delivery system except in urban areas of this nation, hunger among the elderly and children, homelessness, $0.58 cents for every dollar spent on Defense instead of on the American people. Something is wrong when we prioritize freedom of choice issues and politicize them to control people like a dictatorship.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Well said.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mary

    In answer to the people who are rationalizing the killing of unborn child.. The very people who would gasp at the child who was tossed in a trash can or left in the toilet of a public rest room..
    You want to split hairs..
    I say flushing a human life at any point is wrong.. Thats my opinion and you are not going to rationalize me out of believing it..
    Too many people through out history have rationalized the killing of humans, at every stage of their existence..
    I will not fall for your "what if's" and any of the other ways you try to make it Ok.. It is not..
    It needs to stop being sanctioned by the people fortunate enough to have been carried to term and allowed to live..Who say because they made it they are some how more human with more rights than the embryo they themselves once were..

    November 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • the chick who says "meh"

      go ahead and have your opinion; like a certain body part, everyone has one. but your opinion just that; yours. leave me and mine alone.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      Sorry Mary, but your appeal is the typical emotionalism that we don't need. The way this law is worded a woman who has a miscarriage could be put up on charges of taking a human life. The body will reject a fetus naturally if there is something genetically wrong with it or if the fetus should die on its own. Calling a bunch of cells or a zyogote a human life is about as corny as calling an cat embryo a human life. They both look pretty much the same. Sorry but this doesn't work and I won't let you impose your religious views on me or anyone else for that matter. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is up to individuals, not the clergy and certainly not our elected officials.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Mary, that horse you're on is so high you're in danger of getting a nose bleed. Please stop proselytizing your emotional, personal, and religious beliefs. You're against abortion: we get it. You equate it to killing a baby: we get that, too. But when you judge others for their decisions, and try to legislate what the rest of us are allowed to do based on your personal set of beliefs, that is when you have become un-American. I do NOT believe that "personhood" begins at fertilization. A fetus is parasitical in nature. Until it can survive outside the womb, it is not a person.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Leaf on the Wind

      Let me get this straight.."
      I disagree with abortion so I am "wrong.. You agree so you are "right"?
      I am "riding a high horse" for coming back with my opinion.. But you are justified in yours??
      Good grief.. Such arrogance...~!! 🙂

      November 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      I have no intention of rationalizing your out of your opinion, morality, or concerns for your own well being as well as the well being of any unborn children you may carry along inside of you.

      Neither do I plan on allowing you to rationalize away my (and others) rights to manage and control our own opinions, moralities, and concerns for our own well being, or the well being of any portion of potential life we carry inside us.

      You crossed the line not by having your opinion, but by trying to control ours by injecting a legislation of morality which (A) does not/has not ever worked, (B) is based on poorly constructed arguments, and (C) would sentence many in our communities to a lifetime of additional hardships without support or hope. All so you can feel morally superior when the reality here is that anyone who would argue that their own morality should be the structure imposed on others is morally bankrupt by that very attempt.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Carrie in ALabama

    Whis is it that the republican party cannot just focus on jobs, the economy and helping the current President get something done....Why do they constantly rehash something that did not go their way. Regardless what issue it is , they dreg things up , abortion , gay rights, gun control, voters rights or the lack thereof! Just keep beating the old dead horse! They cannot stand for something no to go their way.....I am hoping MS will be smarter then they seem to be right now and this will not become law! Going backwards is not what we need in this country. We are free or use to be!

    November 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ mary:
    I believe that you think it's wrong.
    Don't have an abortion.
    Don't mess with another woman's rights.

    November 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    No, someone needs a reality check, mary.
    Your opinion is your opinion, and as such, it's your right to think that.
    It is *not* your right to impose that on other people, via legislation.

    I asked this on another thread, and it never got a response, so I'll ask it here:
    Would you go to a clinic, talk a woman out of the abortion, take that woman into your home, pay all costs, and then, after the child is born, raise that child by yourself? With no help from the mother *at all*?
    As a matter of fact, I'll ask the same of all the people who want this legislation to pass to answer the same thing.

    If one cannot say categorically YES to every one of these questions, one has *no right* at all to tell a woman she doesn't have any choice in what to do with her body.

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

      And once again I will tell you what I have told others..
      Laws will not stop abortions.. They never have and they never will.
      What you and others are wanting is public sanction.. And your worried you might be loosing that..
      We once had laws that said it was OK to beat your wife. Makes slaves of black people.. They were not considered to have the same value, as a white male..
      One day I suspect people who are for abortion will come to understand we stand in that same murky area with unborn children..
      Until then I suspect it is you and others like you..That are not educated enough to understand it is the same iignorance that has decided a unborn child should not be protected.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hogwash

    There's that slur again! Just blame the bulls and say BS! Better yet, say "I disagree", Zombie Princess.

    November 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
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