Mississippians will soon be voting on whether to extend the definition of “person” to the moment of conception. Initiative 26 asks: Should the term “person” be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof? (LINK)
The most glaring and frightful consequence of such a sweeping change is the flood of both civil and criminal cases that will result from applying all existing laws to unborn fetuses. Ironically, the thing many people are most afraid of — murder charges for a pregnant woman who loses the fetus — has already happened in Mississippi. There is already a law on the books allowing prosecutors to bring a charge of “fetal homicide.”
What is not often considered is the staggering scope of other less glamorous laws applying to “all persons.” Here’s one that you may not know about. In a court case where a minor is unable to speak for himself, there is often a court appointed guardian ad litem, whose job is to conduct an independent investigation to determine what would be in the child’s best interest. Once this principle of law is extended to all fetuses, the possibilities for daft legal precedents is almost endless. Judges could order “independent investigations” of almost any aspect of a pregnant woman’s life — at any point during pregnancy — and issue legal orders as to her behavior while pregnant. These investigations could extend to virtually any area of a woman’s personal life, and could include incredibly invasive calls for disclosure of private information.
The initiative would most likely also allow for the banning of practically every birth control method besides condoms. Morning after pills, IUDs, and any other method which prevents a fertilized egg from successfully implanting on the uterine wall could be considered murder. For that matter, a natural miscarriage could be considered involuntary manslaughter.
It gets worse. According to existing laws, police have not just the right but the obligation to fully investigate potential crime scenes. What happens when someone calls to report a woman suspected of inducing a miscarriage? What’s the crime scene? That’s right, boys and girls. The woman’s body is the crime scene.
Let that last bit sink in before you move on. A woman’s body could be considered a potential crime scene, and authorities would be required by law to fully investigate the crime scene to determine if a crime had been committed — based on nothing more than a credible report of a possible crime. Can you imagine anything more personally invasive with more room for “creative interpretation?”
Finally, the proposed intention of the change disagrees violently with Mississippi’s actual attitudes and practices towards the recently born. “As for supporting life, Mississippi’s infant mortality rate is the worst of any state in the nation. The number of babies who die as infants in Mississippi is double the number of abortions annually.” (LINK)
This initiative, if passed, will take Mississippi to a very, very scary place. It will set a dangerous precedent for the other 38 states that have already passed fetal homicide laws. It could make America far and away the worst place in the First World for a woman to live.