On Personhood

By Guest Blogger
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Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival on the Mississippi Personhood Amendment.

Cross-posted with Jewish Women International.

On November 8, Mississippi voters will be asked the question, “Should the term “person” be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?” The proposed constitutional amendment, known as Initiative 26 or the “Personhood Amendment” is the pro-life movement’s attempt to overturn Roe V. Wade, starting in Mississippi.

But Mississippi is more than just the home to the personhood amendment. It is the state with the highest infant mortality rate in the U.S. In fact, it’s the only state to hit double digits with 10.6 deaths per 1000 births (CDC). Mississippi has the highest birthrate among teenagers aged 15-19, at 65.7% of all births in 2008 (CDC). And since this proposed constitutional amendment is motivated by religious beliefs, it should be noted that is also the state with the highest rate of unmarried pregnancies (CDC).

Given these shocking statistics, it’s shameful that anti-choice groups have made this the focus of political debate in Mississippi. Instead of proposing religiously and politically motivated legislation, lawmakers in Mississippi must bring attention to issues that will actually improve the lives of their constituents- improved preventative health coverage and comprehensive sexual education. Actual persons in the Magnolia state deserve better than Initiative 26.

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