Association of Pro-Life Physicians
Director, James P. Johnston, D.O.
Phone (740) 453-9173

September 16, 2011

Press Release regarding Mississippi’s Personhood

The original Hippocratic was a commitment to never intentionally kill a human
being, including a human being in the womb. “I will neither give a deadly drug to
anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not
give to a woman an abortive remedy.” (circa 400 B.C.)

After physicians in Germany were found guilty of experimenting on Jewish
concentration camp prisoners in World War II, the Declaration of Geneva was
adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948, which stated, “I will maintain the
utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception.”

Adhering to the honorable medical tradition of “First, do no harm”, the Association
of Pro-Life Physicians fully endorses Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment, which
would amend the state constitution to protect the inalienable right to life of all

The opponents of the Mississippi Personhood Amendment have argued that the
Amendment would ban hormonal contraception and reproductive technology
procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF), and that it would give personhood rights
to human “eggs” or oocytes. These are insincere arguments that are as easy to refute
as it is to read the one sentence of the Amendment.

The Amendment clearly would have no effect on genuine contraception, for
contraception by definition prevents conception (or fertilization). How would a law
that protects human life after conception affect contraceptives? If a hormonal
prescription is proven to abort the life of a living human being by preventing his or
her implantation in the uterus, then it is not a genuine contraception, but an
abortion-causing drug. Thus far, there is no scientific evidence that estrogen-based
contraceptives prevent the human embryo from implanting in the uterus; therefore,
the amendment would not affect hormonal contraception.

The Amendment would clearly have no effect on reproductive technology
procedures, such as IVF, as long as the medical practitioners respect the right to life
of newly created human beings. The Amendment would, however, forbid the
intentional killing of embryonic human beings.

The Amendment would clearly have no effect on human “eggs” or oocytes before the
beginning of the life of a human organism. The Amendment would only protect the
right to life of living human beings, not “eggs” or oocytes. Once the woman’s oocyte
is fertilized, it’s no longer an egg, but a human embryo.

Abortion advocates have also fretted that the Amendment would forbid an abortion
that would be necessary to save the life of the mother. It is not necessary to
intentionally kill the preborn child in order to save the mother’s life. A premature
delivery may be indicated to save the mother’s life, and we acknowledge that the
premature child may die despite our best efforts to save him or her, but it is
unethical to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Accidental, unintentional
deaths in medical practice are unfortunate, but not prosecutable.

We encourage the voters of Mississippi to see through the smoke and mirrors of the
abortion advocates and consider the scientific facts. If your life began in your
mother’s womb, then your right to life began in your mother’s womb. The question
to be asked that defines the authentic point of contention in this debate is this:
“When does life begin?” Abortion advocates know they cannot win that debate, so
they obfuscate. We encourage Mississippians to vote “Yes” on Amendment 26, the
Personhood Amendment.

Pro life physicians press release on Personhood Amendment