Proposed personhood amendments failed in Colorado two times. Mississippi will be voting on its own personhood amendment this year. In an effort to promote its cause, Personhood Mississippi has started a "Conceived in Rape" tour featuring Rebecca Kiessling, who says she was conceived by rape and was slated for abortion. Kiessling states on her website:Second: OTOH, give them credit for a smidgen of intellectual consistency. If you really believe that any zygote with around 46 chromosomes is a full-fledged person deserving of full legal protection, then why would that protection suddenly be withdrawn just because that person happened to come about as the result of a violent assault? If abortion is murder, then it's murder no matter how the vessel containing the victim might feel about it.
Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, "I think your mother should have been able to abort you."? It's like saying, "If I had my way, you'd be dead right now." And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life "except in cases of rape" because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child.
Third: OTOOH, not really. As I've pointed out before, if the proposition above was really adhered to, then the infant mortality rate would about around 50% and we'd be holding funeral services over discarded tampons. [[Update: Guess I'm not the only one to notice that. I think that link is a joke site, but I can't be sure.]]
Alright, all of the above was just an excuse for me to write about a perpetual term that won't leave me alone: personhood, now with its own lobbying group and proposed constitutional amendments. The concept exerts a strange fascination, perhaps because it is obviously a social fiction while at the same time absolutely essential to living life. I wrote my dissertation on a related topic (agency and computation), and apparently that was not enough to get it out of my system.
I suppose it is compensation, or a reflection of a basic maladjustment. I figured out a long time ago that my interest in sociology is directly linked to my difficulties with normal society (to put it simply: being a sociologist is like a fish suddenly noticing that they are swimming in this weird "water" stuff and wanting to have a theory of it – and only a fairly weird fish would feel the need). Personhood is just another aspect of the same dynamic, and no doubt underlying it is that faint trace of Aspergerishness that is so common in my chosen profession.
From my point of view personhood appears to be have maddeningly contrary qualities: fictional yet real, elusive yet mundane, unknowable while necessary. I don't think a constitutional amendment is going to help.