What happens when a sperm unites with an egg? Conception...and personhood if a group battling abortion in Florida has its way. If a "Personhood Amendment" passes in Florida, an embryo would have human rights at the moment of conception. Supporters say this would make abortion and many forms of contraception -- such as oral contraceptives and the morning after pill -- illegal.
A Florida AP story in the Miami Herald describes this threat to reproductive choice:
A group called Personhood Florida is sponsoring the amendment with help from the American Life League, a Roman Catholic group based in Stafford, Va., which also is targeting up to 24 other states.
"We believe that that tiny baby that we see on the ultrasound is nothing but a person," said Personhood Florida organizer Brenda MacMenamin of Port St. Lucie. "It is a person with rights, the most basic of those being the right to life."
Another Personhood Florida leader, Pat McEwen, who also directs Melbourne-based Life Coalition International, said: "Our cause is just and our God is able."
Voters in Colorado rejected a similar a proposal by a 3-to-1 margin last year, but another attempt is being made to get back on the ballot there next year. Efforts to get on the ballot failed in Georgia and Oregon last year. North Dakota lawmakers this year rejected a personhood bill.
Why is this happening? Because we have a pro-choice president. As the former president of a national reproductive rights organization explained to me, ultra-conservative anti-choice groups are using this 'threat' to energize the radical right.
The anti-abortion movement has been around for a long time, but now they are hell-bent on dismantling such basic human rights as access to family planning and contraception. That's what they're up to during this pro-choice administration.
Here's what we need to do.
Talk about the Florida "Personhood Amendment" and pass this information along. Just don't be complacent and say, "It'll never pass." Because if we don't act and don't speak out, it may.