It’s that time of year again, folks…Election Day! If you haven’t read my early blog posts, then you might have missed me regaling you with stories of how my mom took me to the election booth, instilling in me the mantra that it was my duty as an American citizen to vote. People have died for the freedom to vote…and in this country too as suffragists faced imprisonment, force feedings and hunger strikes.
But haunting me this Election Day is the piece of legislation I’m most disgusted by: Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment, Ballot Initiative 26. Mississippi voters will decide today whether or not to define a fertilized egg as a person.
While other states have introduced bullshit legislation like this, Colorado is the only other state to vote on a “personhood” amendment. Both in 2008 and in 2010, voters struck the amendments down (thank fucking god!).
This ludicrous legislation would ban all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest and medical danger. Period. No exceptions, nada, zilch. That’s a frightening thought. In addition, some contraception (birth control pills, shots, emergency contraception, IUDs) and some fertility treatments, including IVF (banning the destruction of embryos in labs), could be banned. Oh! But here’s the best part. Miscarriage or even in theory a heavy period could cause a criminal investigation. Um, excuse me?? Yes, you heard (or rather read) that right. Shoot me now.
Now, it’s bad enough when abortion access is restricted and/or criminalized. I can’t stress enough that abortion is a normal, routine medical procedure. But what the fuck is wrong with our country when even one state is voting on criminalizing women for having a miscarriage or period?!
Angela Worthy, RN, MPH says Initiative 26 “goes too far,” posing massive health risks for women and girls. Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, called “personhood” amendments “the most extreme in a field of extreme anti-abortion measures.” In a mass email I received, Northup writes:
“Doctors and medical associations across the state of Mississippi and beyond are united in opposing this measure because of the grave danger it poses to women’s health. Anyone concerned with protecting our constitutional rights against erosion at the hands of an extremist minority should be united in opposition as well.”
While this bill is horrifying for all Mississippi residents, the implications go further. Florida, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin could introduce similar legislation. Other states may follow and introduce bullshit bills of their own. Any deterioration of reproductive rights affects all of our freedom. At RH Reality Check, blogger Amanda Marcotte astutely points out:
“The other reason that we should all be paying attention to Mississippi is the results of the election will be an excellent measure of how far right the Christian right has gone when it comes to sex.”
Clara Vaz, blogger at Fem2.0 asserts:
“Unfortunately, since so much of the abortion debate falls on moral and religious war grounds, this Personhood Amendment is tarnished, legally inept and a mess of variable definitions that aren’t upheld on medical fact. As with most things concerning women’s bodies, none of that matters when the womb is involved.”
I’m sorry but did we take a time machine back to the Dark Ages when I wasn’t looking?? I cannot believe we’re actually debating whether or not a fertilized egg is a person. A person?! It never ceases to amaze me how some anti-choice conservatives care so much about zygotes and fetuses but don’t give two shits about social welfare programs, reproductive freedom and women’s equality.
Nope, they would rather demonize uteruses and vaginas.
For complete coverage of Misssissippi’s Initiative 26, check out all of the amazing posts at RHRealityCheck.