Personhood Amendments Would Not Limit Abortion or Birth Control

birth control pillsLast week, Mississippi voted against the much publicized “personhood amendment,” which would have changed the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception. Women’s rights groups were upset that if passed, this amendment would prohibit women from getting legal abortions or even birth control.

Outlaw birth control? How is that even possible? Scientifically speaking, if life begins when sperm meets egg, then all non-barrier forms of birth control could be considered abortifacients, and therefore banned. Even the chemical baby-making blockers (like the pill) that prevent the ovaries from releasing mature eggs have a backup system in place that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall.


Legally speaking, the idea that Mississippi could outlaw birth control (or even abortion) based on an amendment to its state constitution is completely bunk.

I asked Steven Ertelt, a leading pro-life expert and editor of, how he felt about the personhood amendment. He referred me to this article, which explains exactly how both birth control and abortion would remain legal in Mississippi, even if the amendment had passed.

It basically boils down to the fact that a state cannot overturn a Supreme Court decision such as Roe versus Wade: 

The Supreme Court addressed the issue of personhood language in Roe (as Texas had defined human life beginning at conception) and reaffirmed its view as early as 1983, when in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Inc., it ruled again that “a State may not adopt one theory of when life begins to justify its regulation of abortions.”

Pro-abortion advocates would have known this, which leads to the question: Why did they get all hysterical about it in the media? They skipped right over the abortion issue (which most people feel is a terrible thing, even if they think it should be legal) and went straight for our birth control.

It’s simple. They want to paint pro-lifers as meddling busybodies that want to snatch your Ortho Tri-Cyclen out of your fertile hands. By portraying advocates for life as radical breeders that don’t understand what women go through in unexpected pregnancies, they effectively shut up our message. 

Don’t believe them. No one wants to take your birth control away. We just want you to know that no one ever regretted not having an abortion.


Image via brains the head/Flickr

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