Politics of an embryo

I’ve been following with interest – and contributing to (despite one or two formatting issues that led to inadvertent re-posting of the not entirely duplicate comment) – the thread (from which one fairly argued comment has been inexplicably removed) following the news story in last week’s Nature (3 Nov’ ‘11) – ’Mississippi to vote on ’personhood’.

Initiative 26 – ‘the Personhood amendment’ – was put to state ballot as follows:

Should the term “person” be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?

It’s a strange one, isn’t it? It assumes of Mississippians (at least) three things:

  • That they are already conversant with an erstwhile agreed definition of ‘person’
  • That they are aware of the ‘moment of fertilisation’
  • That they understand what ‘cloning’ means

Today, we learn that Initiative 26 has been defeated. Fortunately, it seems that the people of Mississippi are more nuanced than its politicians courting their votes.


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