Greg Sargent at the Washington Post noted the other day that “personhood” — the idea that a fertilized human egg has all the rights of a fully-born person — is making a comeback in several Senate races.
This has already appeared in the Colorado Senate race, but it will likely become an issue in other races, too. In Colorado, the Republican candidate, GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, renounced his previous support for Personhood after entering the contest, admitting it would “restrict contraception,” but Dems seized on the reversal to argue that Gardner only supports protecting women’s health when politically necessary.
Gardner co-sponsored the “Life at Conception Act,” which provides for Constitutional protection of the right to life of each “preborn human person,” defined as existing from the “moment of fertilization.” The Pro-Life Alliance describes this as a “Personhood” measure.
Other GOP Senate candidates are on record in similar fashion. Co-sponsors of the Life at Conception Act include Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Steve Daines of Montana, both expected general election candidates. Meanwhile, according to McClatchy, three leading GOP Senate candidates in North Carolina — Thom Tillis, Greg Brannon, and Mark Harris — all favor a “Personhood” constitutional amendment that would “grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg and possibly ban some forms of birth control.”
Leaving aside the sketchy science that goes along with the idea — after all, scientific facts in the debates such as climate change or teaching “creationism” in schools never matter — the idea behind personhood is control; mainly control of women and their bodies. From the moment of conception, which, by the way, is very hard to pinpoint — it’s not like a bell rings when it happens — a second person is inhabiting her body and she cannot do anything about it other than host it.
Personhood has been on the ballot before. It’s lost in places like Colorado and even in Mississippi where abortion is being legislated out of existence with the same legerdemain the states used to prevent integration when that was fashionable. (Still is in some places.) But like every perverse trend the control freaks come up with and seems like a lost cause, they have a way of coming back from another direction. Zealots never give up.