Health

Mike Huckabee To Keynote For ‘Personhood’ Group Pushing To Outlaw Contraception

Former Arkansas Gov. and Fox News host Mike Huckabee (R) will be the keynote speaker at an anti-abortion event in Jackson, Mississippi next week. Huckabee will help raise money for Personhood Mississippi, a radical group that is trying to amend the state constitution to give every fertilized eggs full rights:

The Personhood Mississippi group is kicking off its campaign Sept. 8 in support of the “personhood” initiative that is slated to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The initiative seeks to define a “person” as a being at the point of fertilization, which would restrict abortion rights in Mississippi.

Tickets for the banquet, which will be held at First Baptist Church on North State Street, start at $50.

RH Reality Check points out that Huckabee was actively involved in the failed 2008 Colorado Personhood effort as well. Personhood USA hopes to get proposals on the ballot in nearly half the states by 2012.

As ThinkProgress has previously reported, Personhood USA and its affiliates are fringe anti-abortion groups that are determined to redefine life as beginning at the moment of fertilization, effectively outlawing contraceptives like birth control pills. The medical community has long been in agreement that fertilization does not mark the beginning of a pregnancy — fertilized eggs must first be implanted, and only about half of fertilized eggs actually result in a pregnancy.

Yet a growing number of lawmakers like Huckabee are supporting Personhood USA’s efforts to buck medical expertise and legally define life as the moment a sperm meets an egg. These laws would turn common forms of contraception into the legal equivalent of homicide and place millions of women in jeopardy.

Contraceptives like the pill and IUDs not only act to prevent fertilization, but, if fertilization does occur, may prevent that fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Personhood USA considers this tantamount to abortion, and wants to make it a punishable offense for women to control their own fertility. According to 2008 numbers, around 11 million American women use birth control pills and another 2 million use intrauterine devices (IUDs).

Because “personhood” legislation could make any effort to terminate a pregnancy a criminal act, it could also prevent doctors from saving the lives of women with ectopic pregnancies, which are never viable and need to be terminated as soon as possible.