An Abortion Law Even Conservatives Balk At

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Tim Murphy directs my attention to the very conservative Haley Barbour today. Barbour says he’s having second thoughts about a Mississippi ballot measure that would define human life as beginning at the moment of fertilization:

I believe life begins at conception. Unfortunately, this personhood amendment doesn’t say that. It says life begins at fertilization, or cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof….I am concerned about some of the ramifications on in vitro fertilization and ectopic pregnancies where pregnancies [occur] outside the uterus and [in] the fallopian tubes. That concerns me, I have to just say it.

Since I’m basically fine with abortion under nearly all circumstances, I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to the minutiae of when, down to the second, conservatives believe that life begins. But is this for real? It’s like counting angels on the head of a pin. Life, Haley is suggesting, begins not at fertilization, for some reason, but only at conception — which means what? Implantation in the uterus? But if that’s the case, then the Plan B emergency contraceptive should be fine and dandy, shouldn’t it?

But the anti-abortion crowd hates Plan B. And they’re OK with in vitro fertilization. Even by their standards, does this make any sense? Do I really have to start reading up on this stuff, or can I continue ignoring it the way I have for the past 50 years?

(And yes, just to forestall the obvious, I know perfectly well what’s going on. Plan B = sluts who can’t control their animal urges. In vitro = loving married couples who just want to have a family. So one way or another, conservatives have to figure out a way to oppose the former and support the latter. But it’s tougher than it sounds, isn’t it?)

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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