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."
THIS IS THE WORST IDEA EVER, GUYS.
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.