My beautiful home state of Mississippi is in the national spotlight; once again because someone decides our residents are “just ignorant enough” to buy into a dangerous new initiative. Prop 26, also known as the Personhood Amendment is being voted on next week. Make no mistake: whether you’re in Mississippi or Minnesota, the implications will most certainly affect you, a close friend, a family member or your own unborn child (or lack thereof).
So here’s the dynamic in this blog: much as I try to maintain some degree of objectivity, this is one area where I won’t. My refusal to do so doesn’t come from my stubborn mindset, but because I truly believe there is nowhere to go (in terms of finding the “good”) were it to pass. So there it is – no objectivity here. I vehemently oppose this bill. I’ve spent the past several weeks screaming it from the rooftops (OK…maybe not the rooftops, but Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else there was someone willing to listen).
Here’s how it works out –
This amendment is all about deciding whether life begins at conception. Sounds simple enough and if it were that simple, I wouldn’t be so adamant in my stance. This vote decides much more, though. And this is where some folks are getting confused.
First, the measure would make abortion illegal. Again, sounds reasonable, yes? Except….rape victims would be forced to carry their rapist’s fetus and would have no say in what ultimately happens for the next nine months.
The one story I keep coming back to is about a mother and her daughter, who was eleven at the time and who came to a domestic violence shelter I volunteered at. The young girl was pregnant. By her stepfather. Mom had bruises, stitches down her right side where her hairline began and no shortage of deep scratches down both arms. Across her foot, and through her sandals, I saw where it was twice the size of her other foot with what looked like to me the heel of boots impressed, as though someone wearing boots had stomped this woman’s foot and likely broke one or more bones. On her daughter, I saw an emptiness that scared the hell out of me. This child was terrified and her mother even more so because she didn’t know how she was going to protect her. They wanted information first on safe shelter and then they wanted information on physicians in the area who provided abortions. I gave them information for both. And would do it again.
Don’t see yourself in that scenario? Maybe you won’t see yourself in this next one either, but your daughter or daughter in law or your best friend may:
In-vitro becomes impossible. And on the off chance you DO find a physician who’s willing to do it, good luck getting it through the court systems before you’re old enough to be a grandmother. That’s right. You have no control over what happens in your uterus –but the United States Supreme Court does. It’ll set up shop like a bad case of an STD you can’t get rid of. Oh – and then you might still not live to see the day you give birth.
Think your birth control efforts are safe? Think again. Here’s what one Personhood member said when pressed by Dianne Rehm of NPR about whether birth control would be affected:
HOYE: Any birth control that ends the life of a human being will be impacted by this measure.
REHM: So that would then include the IUD. What about the birth control pill?
HOYE: If that falls into the same category, yes.
REHM: So you’re saying that the birth control pill could be considered as taking the life of a human being?
HOYE: I’m saying that once the egg and the oocyte come together and you have that single-celled embryo, at that point you have human life, you’ve got a human being and we’re taking the life of a human being with some forms of birth control and if birth control falls into that category, yes I am.
Don’t take my word for any of this, do the research. There are simply too many ambiguous phrases in this measure. Governor Haley Barbour voted for it via absentee vote, though he went on record later the same day and said he too believed there were many inconsistencies – but he’s pro-life, so for him, and I suspect many others, that’s all they need to hear. Too bad the folks who are pushing for its passage aren’t telling the WHOLE story. There are groups of parents and groups of Mississippi physicians who are determined to see this not pass. Up until today, I was quite confident it would never, ever pass either, but now? I’m no longer sure.