Press Release regarding Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment

applaudAssociation of Pro-Life Physicians
Director, James P. Johnston, D.O.
Phone (740) 453-9173

September 16, 2011

Press Release regarding Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment

The original Hippocratic was a commitment to never intentionally kill a human being, including a human being in the womb. “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.” (circa 400 B.C.)

After physicians in Germany were found guilty of experimenting on Jewish concentration camp prisoners in World War II, the Declaration of Geneva was adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948, which stated, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception.”

Adhering to the honorable medical tradition of “First, do no harm”, the Association of Pro-Life Physicians fully endorses Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment, which would amend the state constitution to protect the inalienable right to life of all Mississippians.

The opponents of the Mississippi Personhood Amendment have argued that the Amendment would ban hormonal contraception and reproductive technology procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF), and that it would give personhood rights to human “eggs” or oocytes. These are insincere arguments that are as easy to refute as it is to read the one sentence of the Amendment.

The Amendment clearly would have no effect on genuine contraception, for contraception by definition prevents conception (or fertilization). How would a law that protects human life after conception affect contraceptives? If a hormonal prescription is proven to abort the life of a living human being by preventing his or her implantation in the uterus, then it is not a genuine contraception, but an abortion-causing drug. Thus far, there is no scientific evidence that estrogen-based contraceptives prevent the human embryo from implanting in the uterus; therefore, the amendment would not affect hormonal contraception.

The Amendment would clearly have no effect on reproductive technology procedures, such as IVF, as long as the medical practitioners respect the right to life of newly created human beings. The Amendment would, however, forbid the intentional killing of embryonic human beings.

The Amendment would clearly have no effect on human “eggs” or oocytes before the beginning of the life of a human organism. The Amendment would only protect the right to life of living human beings, not “eggs” or oocytes. Once the woman’s oocyte is fertilized, it’s no longer an egg, but a human embryo.

Abortion advocates have also fretted that the Amendment would forbid an abortion that would be necessary to save the life of the mother. It is not necessary to intentionally kill the preborn child in order to save the mother’s life. A premature delivery may be indicated to save the mother’s life, and we acknowledge that the premature child may die despite our best efforts to save him or her, but it is unethical to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Accidental, unintentional deaths in medical practice are unfortunate, but not prosecutable.

We encourage the voters of Mississippi to see through the smoke and mirrors of the abortion advocates and consider the scientific facts. If your life began in your mother’s womb, then your right to life began in your mother’s womb. The question to be asked that defines the authentic point of contention in this debate is this: “When does life begin?” Abortion advocates know they cannot win that debate, so they obfuscate. We encourage Mississippians to vote “Yes” on Amendment 26, the Personhood Amendment.

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