Last week, Georgia Sen. Barry Loudermilk (a Republican) and Rep. Rick Crawford (a Democrat) announced plans to introduce so-called “personhood” amendments to the Georgia constitution during the state’s upcoming general assembly. Like a similar amendment that recently failed in Mississippi, both of the Georgia amendments would grant full individual rights to fertilized eggs.
Though Mississippi’s Personhood amendment had the support of many state lawmakers, some anti-abortion groups campaigned against it, arguing it would end up strengthening Roe v. Wade. In a recent press release, Personhood USA’s Les Riley said that the real source of the defeat of the Mississippi amendment was not those groups, but Planned Parenthood, which “pulled the wool over the eyes of Mississippians.”
But don’t expect a carbon copy of Mississippi’s Amendment 26. Crawford told the Huffington Post he wants to keep the concerns of Mississippians in mind when drafting his amendment.
“One thing that’s important to me is to emphasize the distinction between the terms ‘pro-life’ and ‘anti-abortion’ — they’re quite different concepts,” Crawford told Huffington. “Pro-life means being interested in things like women having access to adequate prenatal care, children have access to health care, investing in educational opportunities. It’s a lot broader concept than anti-abortion, and I want to be careful to keep that in the discussion.”
Many have expressed concerns that the passage of fetal personhood bills could prove detrimental to women’s health — and even outlaw in vitro fertilization and birth control. Georgia Right to Life president Dan Becker says that his state’s amendment won’t suffer from the vague language as Amendment 26, telling Huffington that his would be “the first state in the nation to offer a personhood amendment with legislation that clearly spells out what the amendment’s effects would be legally, so it’s clearly understood by doctors and those women using contraceptives and fertility treatment.”
Though it failed to gather enough signatures for placement on last year’s state ballot, Personhood Florida has announced it will soon attempt another personhood initiative, aiming for placement on Florida’s 2014 ballot.