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On Nov. 8, Mississippi voters will decide on Measure 26, which would amend the state’s constitution to define human eggs at the moment of fertilization as “persons.” Under this definition, a variety of reproductive health options would be labeled murder.

Intended to prevent abortions in a state that has already vastly restricted women’s reproductive rights, the effects of the measure would go far beyond the doors of the state’s lone abortion clinic.

As The New York Times writes:

Besides outlawing all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest or when a woman’s life is in danger, and banning any contraception that may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, including birth control pills, the amendment carries many implications, some quite serious.

It could curtail medical research involving embryos, shutter fertility clinics and put doctors in legal jeopardy for providing needed medical care that might endanger a pregnancy. Pregnant women also could become subject to criminal prosecution. A fertilized egg might be eligible to inherit money or be counted when drawing voting districts by population. Because a multitude of laws use the terms “person” or “people,” there would be no shortage of unintended consequences.

Clearly, this is much more than a typical abortion debate. Perhaps the various politicians and pro-lifers endorsing the measure should take a moment to consider the ramifications before they rush to the polls.

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