State Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, and Wayne State University Constitutional Law Professor Jocelyn Benson called a press conference Friday to caution citizens about an ultra-conservative anti-abortion measure on the ballot in Mississippi. They say it’s a tactic that’s spreading across the country and could soon become an issue in Michigan.
The “Personhood Amendment” facing Mississippi voters Nov. 8, and similar initiatives in roughly half a dozen other states, would declare a fertilzed egg a person. If passed, according to the three Democrats, the amendment would be used to ban all abortion and some forms of birth control.
Lipton, of Huntington Woods, said such a measure could also mean an end to stem cell research, something close to her heart since she suffers from Multiple Schlerosis (MS).
“This is extremely serious for those of us who have been advocating stem cell regeneratative medicine for cures for debiltative diseases,” Lipton said. “I think it will clearly send a chilling effect throughout the life sciences sector.”
Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, a pro-life Republican who sponsored legislation recently passed in the upper chamber that outlines the proper disposition of fetal remains, said there’s no momentum for such a measure among the Legislature’s GOP majority.
“I don’t think something that challenged birth control methods would pass at this time,” Jones said. “I think perhaps some (Democratic) politicicians found a way to get a little media attention in this case.”