Posted on December 6, 2007 at 12:52 PM
The Chicago Tribune reports that anti-abortion activists in six states are pushing for ballot referendums that would grant “personhood” and constitutional rights to embryos. The head of Georgia Right to Life tells the Tribune the goal is to introduce such initiatives in as many as 30 states during the next few years.
A companion piece to the article includes a number of questions from bioethicists, including AMBI’s Linda MacDonald Glenn (who’s been following this issue on the Women’s Bioethics Blog.) From that piece:
“You could have people policing women’s behavior during pregnancy to be sure they don’t smoke or drink or do anything that could possibly harm the fetus,” says Lori Andrews, director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology at Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Doctors might hesitate to treat pregnant women for conditions such as diabetes or depression because the treatments could “impact embryos in an unknown way and expose [physicians] to potential liability,” Andrews suggests.
“What about an ectopic pregnancy” where the embryo is implanted in a woman’s fallopian tube, Glenn asks. “Do you have an obligation to try and save the embryo — because it’s a person — even though such pregnancies aren’t viable?”
And what about embryos frozen in fertility clinics around the country? Could they claim a right to gestation in a woman’s body because that’s what they need to grow and develop, asks Dr. John Lantos, a pediatrics professor at the University of Chicago and John B. Francis bioethics chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City.
(thanks to Jim Fossett for the article pointer)
Earlier on blog.bioethics.net:
+ Frozen embryos get some colorful representation in court