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When "personhood" laws go off the rails

By Scott Tibbs, November 19, 2014

I have been active in the anti-abortion movement for nearly twenty years and I support the idea of protecting the unborn from the moment of fertilization. However, as the New York Times pointed out recently, "personhood" laws meant to protect unborn life can go dangerously off the rails and become a tyrannical nanny state. This must be opposed.

It is estimated that up to half of all pregnancies end in a natural spontaneous miscarriage. (Also, one hundred percent of babies born healthy will die eventually.) It is a tragic loss for families who suffer the loss of a pregnancy, and it is especially difficult when a baby unexpectedly dies in the womb and is stillborn. The last thing that a grieving mother needs when facing a miscarriage despite her best intentions and efforts is to be prosecuted (persecuted?) by an overzealous government.

Even worse is when prosecutors persecute women for medical decisions made in good faith. A doctor may think in some cases, for example, that the best option for the baby is to be delivered by a C-Section. The mother may disagree, and it is entirely possible the doctor could be wrong. It is evil and tyrannical for the state to force an invasive surgery on a mother who chooses vaginal delivery, or to seek to punish her after the fact for a private medical decision with no malicious intention.

I want to see unborn life protected, but there is a huge gulf between prohibiting the willful, intentional termination of an unborn baby's life and an oppressive, tyrannical Nanny State forcing its will on mothers or putting all pregnant women under suspicion simply because of a natural biological process. Abortion opponents must be emphatic and uncompromising in opposing such abuses by the government.