Target: Personhood Mississippi
Goal: End the attempts to define fetal life as beginning at conception
Anti-choice activists in Mississippi are gearing up to fight for a Personhood ballot initiative. The proposal defines life as beginning at conception or fertilization, essentially outlawing all abortion. In 2011, Personhood Mississippi attempted to pass a similar amendment. It was rejected by 58% of voters. Opponents of the initiative believe the efforts to be a waste of time, as well as an unlawful assault on reproductive rights provide for in the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade.
Supporters of the amendment claim the initiative lost in 2011 because people “didn’t understand” what it was about, as the phrasing of the question was too convoluted. This time around, they have re-worded the amendment and filed the paperwork for a new initiative. They now must wait for the Attorney General to prepare a ballot title and summary. The amendment’s sponsors then must acquire around 100,000 signatures in order for the initiative to get a spot on the ballot in the 2014 mid term elections or the 2015 governor’s election.
The initiative declares, “All human beings, at every stage of development, are unique, created in God’s image, and shall enjoy the inalienable right to life as persons under the law.” Personhood amendments would essentially ban all abortions, which are guaranteed by Roe vs. Wade, as well as outlaw certain types of contraception and practices like in vitro fertilization, which help women and couples struggling to get pregnant. The initiative could present challenges for doctors and medical staff, who may be criminally or civically prosecuted for certain practices involved in in vitro fertilization like damaging an embryo or freezing a fertilized egg.
Mississippi is one of the most conservative, anti-choice states in the country, and has been slowly and systematically chipping away at reproductive rights over the years. The last remaining abortion clinic in the entire state is on its last legs, facing a revocation of its license.
Tell the sponsors of Personhood Mississippi to end this assault on reproductive rights and halt further movement on their ballot initiative.
Dear Personhood Mississippi,
After the failure of your initiative in 2011, the revival of another personhood amendment appears to be misguided and a poor expenditure of civic energy. Personhood bills blatantly violate the provisions of Roe vs. Wade, making them unconstitutional and unlikely to withstand legal battle. To move so drastically backward on reproductive rights is a disservice to all the women of your state.
Rather than focusing on redefining medical terms, your focuses should be on the high teen pregnancy rates, infant mortality, and low educational achievement of your state. These are far more productive ways to improve the lives of people and children in your state. Please reconsider this harsh and unconstitutional overreach that infringes on important rights provided by the highest court in the land.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: steve rhodes via Flickr