Every year, on the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade case, anti-choice conservatives flock to the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C to protest against abortions and demand that the high court reverse its decision.
But overturning Roe v. Wade is no longer the grand prize it once was. Instead, hardliners have their sights set on a far more dangerous goal: so-called “personhood” legislation, restrictive bills or constitutional amendments that would endow zygotes with the full rights of U.S. citizens and equate the performance of an abortion — sometimes, even in cases of rape or incest — to murder. Personhood legislation would outlaw all abortions, some forms of contraception, and even invitro fertilization.
But radical personhood bills have failed to advance very far. In roughly a dozen states, lawmakers and activists fell short in the last year, unable to force personhood amendments onto ballots or past committee hearings in state legislatures — often because the measures are too controversial even within the anti-choice community. But that hasn’t deterred proponents from continuing their push in 2013:
Just over one month into the year, Republicans in more than half a dozen states have either committed to introducing personhood legislation or have done so already. In North Dakota, the state senate has already passed a bill that would place an amendment to the state’s constitution on the next statewide ballot. In Iowa, eight Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would jail abortion doctors and women seeking abortions on felony charges.