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“Personhood” Measures: Extreme and Dangerous Attempts to Ban Abortion


The most strident anti-choice advocates are pushing for an all-out ban, and have chosen among the most far-reaching approaches to reach their goal of banning abortion: so-called “personhood” measures.

Although details vary, “personhood” measures typically change a state’s definition of the word “person” to include a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus, with the intent of outlawing abortion. As if this were not enough, most “personhood” measures go far beyond an abortion ban also to sweep in most common forms of contraception, stem-cell research, and in vitro fertilization. Even worse, “personhood” measures by their very definition have few if any exceptions to protect a woman’s life or health. In sum, “personhood” measures are a blatant attempt to take away a woman’s ability to make reproductive-health-care decisions, including her constitutional right to choose safe, legal abortion.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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