“Once you recognize that the majority of fertilized eggs don’t become people, then you recognize how absurd this amendment is,” Dr. Hines said. He fears severe unintended consequences for doctors and women dealing with ectopic or other dangerous pregnancies and for in vitro fertility treatments. “We’ll be asking the Legislature, the governor, judges to decide what is best for the patient,” he said.

via Push for ‘Personhood’ Amendments Is New Tack in Abortion Fight – NYTimes.com.

Notwithstanding the controversial nature of this amendment, the current showdown in Mississippi forces a reexamination of the proper role of citizens in the democratic process.  While I certainly support the ability for citizens to express policy preferences through public opinion polls and the election of public officials, I wonder about whether citizens posses the proper knowledge and insight to directly pass public policy.

Do most citizens understand the subtle complexities of the legislative process or the constitutional ramifications of public policy when attempting to pass measures such as the “person-hood” classification discussed in this article?  Should citizens be trusted with this awesome power or do we run the risk of handing the asylum over to the inmates when we allow citizens to pass policy without the oversight of an elected body?

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