To a person who in general - or perhaps even very strongly - opposes abortion, Personhood legislation may sound like an idea to support, a way to shut down the availability of abortions in the United States for good. But there are many other issues, questions, and potential problems besides abortion related to enacting such legislation which should be considered as well. Have you thought about each of these points before jumping on the Personhood "bandwagon", even if you consider yourself "pro-life"?
1. Personhood legislation could criminalize routine health care procedures for women.
In 2011, Mississippi doctors spoke up in opposition to the state's ballot initiative for Personhood, stating that it could seriously hamper their ability to provide routine and even life saving care to their patients, in cases such as ectopic and molar pregnancies. And what about the ability to perform diagnostic procedures such as amniocentesis, which carries a small risk of miscarriage?
2. No exceptions for rape victims - you MUST carry the baby to term.
Personhood legislation carries no exceptions for allowing rape victims to have an abortion in the case of pregnancy resulting from rape. They would not even be allowed access to the "morning after pill". Of course, given that Red. Todd Akin doesn't think "legitimate rape" can result in pregnancy, is it any surprise he is one of the sponsors of personhood legislation?
3. Personhood laws could limit couples' access to fertility treatment, particularly IVF.
RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has compiled a lengthy list of questions about Personhood legislation and the effect it could have on women seeking fertility treatments, particularly when In Vitro Fertilization is required. As their page states, "if microscopic fertilized eggs/embryos are full humans, anything that puts an embryo at risk could be a criminal violation, even if its goal is the undeniable social good of helping someone have a baby."
4. Personhood could prevent pregnant women suffering from cancer from receiving lifesaving treatments.
If Personhood legislation passed, a doctor could become unable to provide care such as chemotherapy to a pregnant cancer victim, because the treatment could harm the fetus. The fetus' potential chance of life would be given precedence over the adult woman's ability to fight cancer. Such situations have already occurred in other countries, such as when a pregnant teenager died in the Dominican Republic because the country's abortion ban delayed her chemo treatment until it was too late.
5. Women who suffer stillbirths or miscarriages could potentially be prosecuted for homicide under Personhood laws.
Women are already being prosecuted under expanding homicide laws if their actions are suspected in any way to have caused the loss of an unborn child. Women are increasingly being treated like "baby making machines" in this country, with their own rights & protections under law at risk if they even potentially might be pregnant. How long before all women of child-bearing age are forbidden from smoking, drinking or taking medications that could harm a fetus in case she might be pregnant?
6. Personhood would restrict access to hormonal birth control for women.
Concern has been raised - and only sometimes discussed with amendments necessary to allow exceptions, that Personhood laws could make illegal any form of birth control that could possibly be an abortifacient (induce an abortion). Some of these hormonal forms of birth control are used not even by women looking to prevent pregnancy, but to control severe pain and menstrual bleeding, fibroids or PCOS. And of course, say goodbye to the "Morning-After Pill".