Mississippi’s impending vote on granting legal rights to fertilized eggs and fetuses prior to birth has many up in arms over the likelihood of the measure abolishing abortion, blocking many fertility treatments and possibly banning popular forms of birth control.
But one thing that has been less discussed is the potential it has to affect all pregnant women by granting her fetus rights equal to and separate from her own. Rights that, if they conflict with that of the woman carrying it, could potentially put her in jail, or worse.
Allison Korn, a staff attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, explains how passing “personhood” could spread the issue of criminalizing women who miscarried, putting suspicion on her that she may have “murdered” her baby, or could force women to undergo medical interventions against their wills for the “sake of the baby.” But most disturbing? Her reminder of the story of Angela Carder.
In Washington, D.C., Angela Carder, who was 27 years old and 25 weeks pregnant, became critically ill. She, her family and her attending physicians agreed on treatment designed to keep her alive for as long as possible. Nevertheless, the hospital called an emergency hearing, and based on claims of separate rights for fetuses, ordered cesarean surgery despite the fact that it could kill Carder. The surgery was performed; both the baby and Carder died.
Would hospitals put the rights of a potential life over that of the woman who carried it, choosing to prioritize a new life at the expense of the life of the mother? When so many anti-choice believers are idolizing women who choose to give birth while sacrificing their own lives, it can only be a matter of time before that become the rule.
Especially if “personhood” becomes the law of the land.
Watch a video from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, below, which summarizes the potential threats to women that Proposition 26 offers.
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