Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Next week, Mississippi voters will be voting on Amendment 26. If passed, a fertilized human egg will be considered a legal person, thus making abortion (and some forms of birth control and miscarriage) murder.

The Personhood strategy goes back to 2008, when Colorado citizens attempted twice to enact similar laws, both of which failed miserably. Colorado is much more liberal than Mississippi, though I guess pretty much any state is more liberal than Mississippi.

Should this pass, and it does seem like it will, this promises to be big trouble for women. Not only because it will like fire up the base and states like Florida, Ohio, and South Dakota have similar movements happening, but because it will reframe the debate to "birth control isn't abortion," away from the core message that women have the right to have abortions.

Yikes. Additionally, there is no exception for rape and incest victims. On Amendment 26's website, they have a "What about rape?" section, and it is simply a link to Rebecca Kiessling's website. Her mother was raped. Because Rebecca is alive and glad about it, this is somehow supposed to imply that all women who are raped should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term, go through the excruciating pain of labor, pay for all the medical costs associated with pregnancy and labor, and then have a baby and pay for all childcare costs as well. The fact that Amendment 26 couldn't even bother to create a separate page to address the concerns of rape victims (and incest cases were completely ignored) illustrates how blatantly they disregard women and others in general. Their view is so narrow and slanted that they are incapable of offering compassion or caring for a woman who has gone through a horrible experience. You cannot say that every case of rape is exactly the same and each woman will want/need the same thing. You just can't.

And then there is the whole birth control thing. Under this amendment, using birth control, the IUD, emergency contraception, and having a miscarriage would all be forms of murder. This is very problematic, obviously, because if having an abortion is murder, then women are going to want to be extra sure to not get pregnant. Yet many common ways to avoid getting pregnant would be classified as "abortion" under this amendment. WTF? Amendment 26's birth control page, "How does Amendment 26 impact birth controll (sic) & bioethics" appears to be all about cloning and IVF, with no mention of how OCPs or the IUD would be impacted by this bill. Again, WTF? I can only assume their complete dismissal of this is because they realize there is no way they can really say that birth control won't be illegal under the amendment.

As for the miscarriage issue, all they say is, "The Personhood Amendment would prevent the intentional taking of a life, but it would not adress (sic) miscarriage."


As we have talked about before, the vast majority of abortions occur before 12 weeks. I know it's a little gross, but if you have a person look at the pregnancy tissue of a nine week old pregnancy and then a 5 year old, and then said, okay -- the tissue or the child has to die -- pick one, most people would pick the tissue. That is because the tissue is NOT the same thing as the child. I know some people believe they are, but my point in this example is that when it comes down to it I don't think most people really think they are the exact same thing. Which is why, until this point, personhood bills have failed so badly. Is a woman who has a miscarriage, a totally natural process out of her control, a murderer? No. And is someone who takes birth control pills killing a baby everyday? Is a woman who has an IUD in killing babies too? NO EFFING WAY. Is someone who has IVF killing a baby if the first egg doesn't take? No. If someone was raped by her father and takes the morning after pill the next day murdering a baby? NO. It's not the same thing. So stop acting like it is.

/end rant

1 comment:

  1. I live in Jackson. We have one clinic here, fyi. I am of the mind that the pro choice world needs to start a legal fund for when this crap gets passed somewhere. Eventually there will come a point where some fool state will let this pass and then comes the legal battles where they are going to actually cart women off to jail for having birth control and the community as a whole needs to be prepared for that battle because as long as they do this in the south the poor woman they cart off won't be able to do that legal battle even though the precedent will be set for all of us. Having said that I know a number of my friends are getting out to vote against this. Hell, even my far right wing Republican, 82 year old grandmother is voting against this. The problem we are having getting the word out is that the proponents of this thing are lying. Literally lying. They are trying to make it about abortion, which of course most of the state is against. They even changed the information on their website to keep the public misinformed. Oh, and guess what? One of the leaders of this silliness is a local female OB/GYN, Freda Bush. I know her from my days at an answering service. She never was a nice person but I feel so angry a woman is leading this nutjob amendment. Anyway, back to the lies: When all this first came to light, before the national media got a hold to it you could go to the personhood website and plain as day they had in their FAQs that the amendment would indeed make some forms of birth control such as IUDs and some pills illegal. It also blatantly stated that there are no exceptions for things like rape or ectopic pregnancies. They fixed that. It no longer gives that information and the new line of crap is that the details have to be worked out. Yeah, right. I wish ya'll could see these horrid billboards they have put up with pics of fetuses and the words "I'm a person too." Totally avoiding the fact that they plan to kill women with this thing.

    What angers me the most about all this is the disrespect to women. As though we have no ability to contemplate our own choices. As though we just wake up one morning and go hey, I think I'll go kill a baby today. As though someone else has the right to tell me what I'm going to do with my own body and judge me about how much thought I have put into it. Yet, I'm expected to be a law abiding, normal citizen. Surely if I can pay taxes and not get myself arrested for throwing feces at people I have the capacity to decide what I want to do with my own uterus? But you mark my words, if this thing passes I ain't giving up my birth control. Perhaps we need an underground railroad for it down here, lol.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.