Losing Your Rights Via Personhood

By Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women, National CLUW Vice President (United Steelworkers)

Don’t be fooled by Initiative 26, Mississippi’s the “personhood amendment.” Government has gone too far and this amendment raises many disturbing questions about the status of women if enacted. The essential question to ask is, if a woman is lying unconscious in a burning building with a rack of embryos, which would be saved first? Initiative 26 would seem to imply the rack of embryos. Why else would Initiative 26 make it possible to deny lifesaving treatment to women? It raises serious questions about medical treatment of common problems such as ectopic pregnancies, infertility and even high-risk pregnancies. This could be why the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and Mississippi Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are opposed to this initiative. Clearly it comes between the doctor and his or her patient. The Mississippi Nurses’ Association and the Mississippi State Medical Association oppose it as well.

Even more appalling, a girl raped by her father could be forced by the state to bear her father’s child because there are NO allowances for rape or incest. This goes against all of our society’s values. Perhaps this is why Catholic Bishops in several states oppose this law.

Initiative 26 also poses this disturbing question: If a woman miscarries, no matter how early, no matter what the reason, does the personhood amendment allow her to be charged with murder? Keep in mind that between 50 and 70 percent of first-trimester miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg. Studies estimate that between 30 to 50 percent of fertilized eggs miscarry before or during implantation.

This amendment may radically change over 4000 laws in the state and cause strange lawsuits and criminal charges. It would also outlaw many common forms of contraception. Shouldn’t a state with the highest poverty rate and 31.9 percent of its children living in poverty be thinking about creating good paying jobs not more children? Over the past decade, the cost of raising a child to 18 for a two income middle class family rose 40% to $226,920. Then there is the $155 million a year price tag for Mississippi teen pregnancies, the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate.

The folks in Colorado voted down the personhood amendments–twice. I encourage everyone in Mississippi to vote NO on Initiative 26, aka the “personhood amendment,” November 8. If you don’t live in Mississippi but have friends and family there encourage them to vote no. Make sure to contact your state representative in Mississippi and ask her or him how this amendment creates jobs when the average income went down and more women and children are slipping into poverty. Ask how this helps create jobs and, finally, tell him or her to quit wasting time and do something about the jobs crisis.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Photo from Flickr user themonnie under Creative Commons.

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