‘Twas the Night Before Election Day…

By Meghan Shalvoy
Organizers in Mississippi advocating No on Amendment 26
Photo courtesy of the author.

…And all through Mississippi, the Campus Team and their amazing Students Voting No on 26 organizers were working their butts off to get out the vote.

Many people, inside Mississippi and throughout the country, have been talking about MS i26 this past week or so. That’s primarily because it’s so extreme and dangerous for women and families that all eyes are on Mississippi this week to see how the fourth attempt at a “personhood” ballot initiative will play out.

Mississippi’s initiative reads: “Should the term ‘person’ be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?” Pretty vague and creepy, huh?

Well, what it actually may mean is that the rights and protections of a fertilized egg will be of greater or equal importance to those of the woman. It will undoubtedly outlaw abortion and many common forms of birth control, without exception for the life or health of the woman or cases of rape or incest. It will interfere with fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization.

What it won’t do is address the real needs of people in Mississippi. It won’t address the 10.7% unemployment rate, well above the national average. It won’t address the fact that Mississippi has the absolute highest rates of infant mortality, top five highest rates of teenage pregnancy, or the fact that 17% of Mississippians have no health insurance.

I’m sitting here, in Starbucks, making last minute phone calls to volunteers – and I’ve got to be honest, I’m freaking out. I know we have made a HUGE impact, and things are completely different from when we arrived three weeks ago. We are also not going to abandon Mississippi or any other state that the personhood movement preys upon.

But, in the short term, it all comes down to tomorrow. I really wanted to write this tonight while we’re still completely in it, while the verdict is still completely unknown. It’s an intense thing to dedicate yourself to something from sun up to sun up again, for weeks straight, knowing that the finish line is fast approaching. Keep an eye out tomorrow  when I write from the airport, post-Election-Day!


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