There has been more than a little debate about Proposition 26, which will appear on the Mississippi ballot tomorrow. Mass speculation has been the common thread running through both sides of the issue, speculation about the implications of defining personhood as beginning at the point of fertilization. “Will this end abortion?” “Are mothers whose lives are jeopardized still allowed to have a life-saving abortion?” “Will birth control pills now be illegal?”
For full disclosure, I am voting “yes” on the ballot unless more evidence comes to light in the next 24 hours that would convince me otherwise. But my primary goal in this post is not to convince anyone to vote “yes” tomorrow. Rather, it’s to address some of the arguments that I have heard Christians use against this particular amendments. More specifically, I’m going to highlight some arguments that should not play into this discussion.
First, economics should not play a part in the discussion. The argument goes something like this: “The majority of abortions in Mississippi come from the “economically disadvantaged” so this amendment would eventually put too great a strain on our economy through the increase of people who are on government-assistance programs.” Finances should not be criteria in determining personhood. Think of how selfish this logic is. “We’re not going to acknowledge the personhood of unborn babies because we can’t afford it.” This is ridiculous, not to mention terrifying. If finances guide the way we view humanity, that can take us down a “slippery slope” where we don’t want to venture.
Secondly, our vote shouldn’t hinge on whether or not proposition 26 will ban birth control pills. We should not be asking, “Will it outlaw the Pill?” Rather, we should be asking, “Why might it outlaw the Pill?” The fact that this is a consideration should drive us to research how birth control pills work. Many, if not all, pills have, as their third and final phase, a measure that keeps the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Therefore, the third phase of this pill could, in fact, be abortive if we view life as beginning at conception. In short, our view of personhood should not be determined by birth control; our view of birth control should be determined by personhood.
I can’t help but to mention two other arguments that are being used. I don’t lump these into the “bad” category though. They are essential questions to answer when addressing abortion. The first is the issue of abortion after rape. For a response to that, you should see this post by Matthew Delaughter. Also, people say this amendment will keep doctors from performing abortions to the save the life of the mother. This site should help you answer some of those objections.
There are profound questions that surround this amendment, which call for deep and careful consideration. Before you enter into the voting booth tomorrow, consider the important question: when does life begin? If you believe it begins at conception, vote “yes.” If you don’t, vote “no.” Let that determine your vote, not the other secondary issues.