'Personhood Amendment' Will Hurt Rape Victims & Their Kids

Mississippi flagPersonhood amendments on the ballots in states like Mississippi and Florida are being hailed by anti-abortionists as the best thing for the fetus since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal across the land. But if you start picking apart the details of these initiatives, there's one thing that becomes clear. Their version of "protecting" fetuses puts them at some awfully huge risks.

Let's just consider the rhetoric from the people behind Yes on 26, the initiative to have a fertilized egg considered a person in the State of Mississippi. They say that in cases of rape or incest, making an abortion illegal will "prevent a child from being executed for the crime." The implication being that an abortion would be punitive toward an innocent party, and "personhood" would save them from any and all harm.

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Now consider this. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the side effects of rape include: substance abuse, self-harm, sleep disorders, eating disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, suicide. Do any of those sound conducive to a healthy pregnancy? Still think that making a raped woman carry a fetus to term is the best thing for the fetus?

Also worth considering are statistics from actual scientists (rather than random religious-affiliated websites with nebulous origins) that indicate rape-related pregnancy is more often seen in adolescents than in adult women. These girls often have suffered the double injustice of being raped by a relative, making their child not simply the product of sexual assault, but of incest as well.

Again, the risks to the baby are huge. Not only is an adolescent girl at risk of the aforementioned side effects, but a child of incest is considered to be at a higher risk of genetic defects. And that's not all! Older mothers have gotten significant flak of late for their high risk pregnancies, but teens are actually the least likely of all mothers in America to get adequate prenatal care. They're also at a much higher risk of side effects from premature labor to high blood pressure, side effects that, again, hurt the fetus they're carrying.

Funny. Yes to 26 itself says this personhood amendment will "protect unborn babies." So why are they willing to put a fetus at such immense risk?

 

Image via wbk4lc/Flickr

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