January 18, 2013
Maya Manian on Personhood Legislation
Maya Manian (University of San Francisco School of Law) has posted Personhood Legislation, Abortion Regulation, and Side Effects on Women's Health on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
State personhood laws pose a puzzle. These laws would establish fertilized eggs as persons and, by doing so, would ban all abortions. Many states have consistently supported laws restricting abortion care. Yet, thus far no personhood laws have passed. Why? This Article offers a possible explanation. I suggest that voters’ recognition of the implications of personhood legislation for health issues other than abortion has led to personhood’s defeat. In other words, opponents of personhood proposals appear to have successfully reconnected abortion to pregnancy care, contraception, fertility, and women’s health in general. Public concern over the “side effects” of personhood laws seems to have persuaded even those opposed to abortion to reject personhood legislation. If this is so, personhood opponents may have struck on a strategy that could apply more broadly. As this Article explains, various anti-abortion regulations — not just personhood laws — have deleterious “side effects” on women’s health. Focusing the public’s attention on these spillover effects could create stronger support for access to abortion care and thereby better promote women’s health across the full spectrum of women’s healthcare needs.
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