Tomorrow Mississippi voters will have the opportunity to vote on the Personhood Amendment, a ballot initiative that “would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word ‘person’ or ‘persons,’ as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.” According to Politico, a new poll reveals that 44 percent of Mississippi voters oppose the amendment and 45 percent support it.
The ‘personhood’ initiative on the Mississippi ballot (Initiative 26) could endanger women’s health and privacy. By giving constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, it could ban emergency contraception, birth control pills, and IUDs as well as all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman or girl. It could even eliminate medical choices for women like some cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization, and could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the National Organization for Women (NOW) members and supporters have been working in Mississippi to alert voters to the possible consequences of this amendment. Although on Wednesday Republican Governor Haley Barbour indicated that he was unsure of whether he would support the amendment, on Friday, he stated his support for it: “I have some concerns about it. But I think all in all, I believe life begins at conception.” Nevertheless, Barbour noted that he was concerned about the implications of the amendment in cases of an ectopic pregnancy, according to Politico.
In September, On the Mississippi Supreme Court voted seven to two to permit Measure 26. Mississippi is the only state that has a personhood initiative on its ballot this year.
Politico 11/7/11; CNN 11/4/11; Feminist Majority Foundation Email 11/4/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/12/11