what, exactly, is the “moment of conception”

Posted on September 13, 2011


Mississippi to vote on reversing abortion rights by redefining ‘person’ | World news | guardian.co.uk.: Another flyover state is on the “Repeal Roe V. Wade” Bandwagon.  Not so shocking.  What is really bugging me though is this idea that life and personhood begins at “conception”:

Mississippi voters will be allowed to vote on an initiative that seeks to reverse abortion rights by redefining the term “person” to apply at the moment of conception.

So, is that when the spermie and the egg initially meet and spermie reaches the nucleus (which i believe is what Miss. is going for)?  Because it’s still not a viable pregnancy at that point.. it still has a few days journey (which varies woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy) through the Fallopian tubes to the uterus to implant and begin dividing cells that will become the placenta. You’re not even really preggo until implantation because, duh, if the bundle of cells don’t implant there’s not going to be a baby. Are tiny persons being killed by women’s bodies the world over whenever a fertilized egg fails to implant? how can we save them!? 

Snark aside, who decides this arbitrary moment in time?  If this precedent is set, will abortion be murder?  What about miscarriages?  What about women who are carrying a fertalized egg that hasn’t implanted yet who drink or smoke a joint with their homies? Will they be endangering a person and able to be prosecuted?  Is there some sort of institutionalized standard on when “conception” occurs? Because most women don’t even KNOW when they conceive.

There are a lot of flaws with this idea of “conception” and I think they’re all pretty much rooted in the fact that people (men and women and everyone in between and outside) know very little about the female body, and this goes double for conservatives (in my personal experience, anyway).  So now we’re going to take that ignorance and legislate around it?

What does this mean for Plan B? Birth control? In Vitro?

Recently someone commented on a blog post of mine asking me “what kind of authoritarian country do i think we live in”.  Well, one like this:

Cristen Hemmins, the plaintiff, said: “As a lifelong Mississippian, I am disappointed that this broad and intrusive measure has been allowed on the ballot. I call on all voters to vote ‘no’ on #26. The government should not be interfering with the personal and private health care decisions of Mississippi families.”