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Mississipi Personhood Amendment

The Mississippi Personhood Amendment is a citizen initiative to amend the Mississippi Constitution to define personhood as beginning at fertilization or “the functional equivalent thereof.” They state the purpose of this amendment is to protect life, regardless of age, health, function, physical or mental dependence, or method of reproduction. The people of Mississippi were required to collect and certify 89,285 certified signatures from registered voters equally divided throughout the state of Mississippi. They far exceeded this requirement and collected over 130,000 and certifying over 106,000.

The proposed amendment is as follows: “Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi: SECTION 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hereby amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION TO READ: Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.” This initiative shall not require any additional revenue for implementation”

The vote for this amendment took place on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Fifty-five percent of voters rejected this amendment. This proposed amendment divided the medical and religious communities. Voters on both sides of this proposed amendment have raised questions about the ambiguity and about the actual, unforeseen, and unintended consequences. The major concern for many regarding the proposed amendment and new anti-abortion tactic was its possible effect on fertility treatments. If life is defined as beginning at fertilization, questions are raised. If, following an embryo transfer, pregnancy does not occur, is this a miscarriage? If couples decide to discard their embryos, regardless of reason, are they murderers? More specifically, the ballot measure called for abortion to be prohibited “from the moment of fertilization” – wording that opponents suggested would have deterred physicians from performing in vitro fertilization because they would fear criminal charges if an embryo doesn’t survive.

This proposed amendment would also have made certain birth control, such as the morning-after pill or the intrauterine device, illegal. It also would have put into place the requirement that a woman must carry unwanted pregnancies, including those caused by rape or incest. There was concern this vote could set a precedent for the nation.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) responded to this defeated proposed amendment in a statement made by Dolores J. Lamb, PhD, President: “We are pleased the people of Mississippi did not accept this dangerous measure that would have endangered access to reproductive health care. We hope policy makers in other states will take note; the American people do not want government coming between physicians and their patients and will not accept policy on reproductive health care being controlled by extremists. Our members are pleased they will be able to continue to provide the citizens of Mississippi with full access to the reproductive health care they need”.

Infertility treatment IVF Conception

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher has worked with InVia Fertility Specialists since 2006. She is our Third Party Coordinator, so she works with our patients that need an egg donor, sperm donor, gestational surrogate, or any combination of the above. She recruits and screens the egg donors for our in-house donor program as well. She loves working with intended parents and is passionate about third party reproduction and the important role it plays in helping patients achieve their dream of starting or extending their family. She is a member of SEEDS - the Society for Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy.

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