Mississippi Personhood Amendment Goes Down in Flames

Nov 09 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Vox Populi - the people have spoken

It was a good night for America – in Ohio Governor Kasich’s SB 5 was repealed by the people of Ohio and in Mississippi, the totalitarian-style personhood amendment, a total war push on Women’s Reproductive Rights, went down in defeat. The Mississippi  ballot initiative organized by Personhood USA, opposed by Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and others, formally known as Measure 26, would have, if passed defined zygotes, embryos—even a fertilized egg—defined as a person.

Women will be unable to have an abortion even in the case of rape or incest – even if her life is in danger, and IUDs, birth control pills and other forms of contraception would have become illegal.

CBS News reports that “The so-called “personhood” initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted.” According to the LA Times, “As of 10:40 pm ET, 57% had voted to reject the measure, compared to 43% who supported it. ”

This, despite the support of the state’s largest Christian denomination, the Mississippi Baptist Convention. The day’s results show that sometimes our citizens still get what they want, not what somebody tells them God wants.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said of the night’s results:

“The message from Mississippi is clear. An amendment that allows politicians to further interfere in our personal, private medical decisions, including a woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortion, is unacceptable.”

Americans have good reason to feel satisfied this morning, but the threat is far from abated. As NARAL Pro-Choice America reports, “In fact, the anti-choice groups behind Initiative 26 are pushing similar ballot measures for 2012 in California, Florida, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, and Oregon.” And that’s not all. The Mississippi bill went down in defeat, but an almost identical bill now exists in the U.S. House of Representatives and if passed into law would affect the entire nation.

The Sanctity of Human Life Act (HR 212) proposed by Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-Ga.) “includes” reports Mother Jones, “language that directly parallels that of the Mississippi personhood amendment.” According to HR 212, “the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent…at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.”

From CBS News:

Keith Mason, co-founder of the group Personhood USA, which pushed the Mississippi ballot measure, has said a win would send shockwaves around the country. The Colorado-based group is trying to put similar initiatives on 2012 ballots in Florida, Montana, Ohio and Oregon. Voters in Colorado rejected similar proposals in 2008 and 2010.

It is unclear how much of a dampening effect the Mississippi defeat will prove to be. Outgoing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour  had problems with the wording of the bill, telling MSNBC on Tuesday that “It’s unnecessarily ambiguous.”  According to Barbour, he wasn’t the only one concerned: “the ambiguity of the wording is striking a lot of pro-life people here as concerning.”

The Times reports:

He also criticized the strategy of sending it to voters rather than to the Legislature — a blunder he attributed to people in Colorado, who wrote the measure — and said it would not be a good test case with which to try to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Mississippi already has very restrictive laws on abortion but the women of Mississippi should be relieved, as should women in very other state if the defeat adversely affects similar legislation in other states. But neither women nor Americans in general should feel content with beating back this assault on women.  As the bill taking shape in the U.S. House demonstrates, the fight is far from over. As in the NFL we need to take this victory, just as we would take a defeat, and put it behind us, moving on to the next battle with a game plan directed at each specific opponent.

You’ve come a long way, baby. But you’ve got a long way to go.

Edit (10:18 AM): Here is another take on the personhood amendment from Jezebel.com The Creepy Castration Rhetoric Of The Personhood Campaign

Photo: LA Times

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