The Georgia state House of Representatives tabled a state constitutional amendment this Wednesday that would define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization. A House subcommittee voted 4-3 to table the amendment, “effectively killing the measure for this year,” reports the Macon Telegraph. The resolution (see PDF) states, “…the word ‘person’ applies to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency, including unborn children at every state of their biological development, including fertilization.”
When the amendment was introduced last year, Dionne Van, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, released a statement explaining, “This proposed amendment has dire implications for women’s health that go even further than outlawing nearly all abortion. It could ban many forms of birth control, including the birth control pill and emergency contraception, as well as fertility treatments and stem-cell research.”
A panel of doctors all testified against the amendment, except for one doctor, the Macon Telegraph reports. Doctors resisted supporting an amendment that could ban most forms of contraceptives, which obstetrician Michael Rabinowitz noted that 95 percent of American women have used. An embryologist said that the majority of fertilized embryos do not even develop to term due to natural causes, and many doctors added that no medical test can show the existence of an embryo for a week after fertilization.
Dr. Rabinowitz asked, “If this becomes law and I am treating a pregnant woman, who will be my patient? The woman or the fetus?”
Several other states have tried to pass similar “personhood initiatives” that put not only a woman’s right to an abortion in danger but also threaten oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, and in vitro fertilization clinics.