I didn’t think I was going to wake up this morning and feel like I was back in 2011. I had just graduated college. I was wrapping up an internship with Organizing for America – the election was so far off we weren’t even calling ourselves Obama for America yet. And Mississippi was making news with Initiative 26, the so-called “Personhood Amendment” that would set abortion rights back to the 1900’s.
Well it’s been two years since college, and I obviously work at the Feminist Majority Foundation now. That could only mean…
Before you throw your computer at the wall, here’s a picture of a kitten to calm you down.
Adorable animals aside, the threat is real. Last week, the Attorney General of Mississippi approved a personhood initiative measure proposed by the state legislature. Now, personhood supporters have to gather 107,216 valid Mississippi signatures to get it placed on the 2015 ballot. The ballot initiative would read “Should the Mississippi Constitution be amended to state that the right to life as a person begins at conception?” and it only gets better from there! Sarcasm! The actual amendment added to the state constitution would read:
“The right to life begins at conception. All human beings at every stage of development are unique, created in the image of God, and shall enjoy the inalienable right to life as persons under law.”
For those of you who don’t remember the 2011 Personhood Amendment or are unfamiliar with that what such an amendment could do, here’s a lovely list of all the potential ramifications –
- Outlaw abortion
- Outlaw abortion in cases of rape
- Outlaw abortion in cases of incest
- Outlaw abortion in cases of severe, non-viable fetal abnormality
- Outlaw abortion to protect the mother’s health
- Outlaw abortion to save a woman’s life
- Give rights to a fertilized egg, thereby
- Ban emergency contraception
- Ban IUDs
- Ban birth control pills
- Outlaw in vitro fertilization
- Deny life saving cancer treatment
- Criminalize miscarriages
At least making signs for this will be easy.
But y’all, hope is not lost! Already people are angry in Mississippi that this is even an issue. There’s a petition on SignOn.org collecting signature against the personhood amendment. There’s also a Facebook group No means NO: Mississippians United Against Personhood that is already ranting and raving against Initiative 41. No Means NO has been active since the battle began in 2011 and has been supporting the lone abortion clinic in Mississippi, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO). And they aren’t the only ones.