Personhood Amendment could set Mississippi back decades

This year, the grand ol’ state that we call home (for at least half the year) has captured the nation’s attention thrice.

We shocked the world with the malign murder of James Craig Anderson by some of “Mississippi’s finest,” we wrote/produced/directed a film cataloguing some of our ugliest moments (similar to the aforementioned incident), and now, we’re voting on a state constitutional amendment that has been shut down multiple times around the country already.

On Nov. 8, Mississippi will hold a general election, and one of the initiatives on that ballot is simply this: Initiative 26, more commonly known as the Personhood Amendment, will define a “person” as beginning at fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof.

What does that mean? The quick explanation is that since a clump of cells will now have the same rights as every other living, breathing citizen, the termination of said clump will be considered murder, feticide and outright illegal.

The more in-depth portion of the amendment that seems to be overlooked most of the time is the illegalization of multiple forms of oral contraceptives, human cloning, stem cell research and “other forms of medical cannibalism,” according to the website of the initiative’s biggest supporters, Personhood Mississippi.

I have attempted to understand the concept of medical cannibalism, but the only image in my mind involves Anthony Hopkins, a stethoscope and a fetus…somehow.

Ignoring the strange wording that no one can explain, I’m honestly not shocked by two of those things. Stem cell research and cloning will always be complex concepts that people will fight; everyone battles what they can’t understand.

But I’ll be damned if you’re going to take my medication away from me — medication that I need for reasons beyond its automatically assumed purpose.

Do most men know that the purpose of the Pill extends far beyond the pregnancy prevention? I can tell these don’t.

With the exception of a handful of women sprinkled in for appearances, the majority of the initiative’s supports are (not surprisingly) old, white men over 50.

Colorado attempted this vote twice, both in 2008 and in 2010, but the amendment was overwhelmingly shot down and discarded; hippies don’t do hostility.

After hopping around the country from state to state, looking for an ultra-conservative, predominately pro-life community to dig its claws into, the initiative finally hopped the Mississippi River and found the perfect home: the Bible belt. There’s only one abortion clinic in the entire state, so it really shouldn’t be that hard to convince 51 percent of us.

This initiative has managed to hide away from the mainstream media, leaving residents mystified and unsure. Most people will skim the title and assume, “I’m pro-life/anti-abortion, so I’m going to vote for this!”

That’s exactly what the country is expecting to come out of this, but I’m hoping that enough Mississippians will go above and beyond the average and research before you vote.

If you agree with the concept of stripping a woman’s rights and giving them to a three-cell organism, you go right ahead and vote yes.

Mississippi is slipping backward in time, falling into the period of the white male-driven ‘60s where women were just for having babies and black people “Help” take care of those precious babies.

So, essentially, I’m being reminded that I’m a baby machine and that if I get pregnant, for whatever reason, even in cases of rape or incest, I must carry said child for nine months and either raise, feed, clothe, wipe, bathe, coddle and attempt to love it or give it away like a homemade gift.

Absolutely not, sir. That’s why science invented birth control!

Oh, wait. You took that, too.

Mississippi leads the nation in more sexual problems than can be remembered, but beyond the copious sexually transmitted disease rankings, we also get the honor of having the most teenage pregnancies in the country.

Teenage pregnancies that cost the state and the taxpayers $154 million in potentially avoidable costs annually, pregnancies that are almost always unintentional — pregnancies that lead to nothing but pain and rarely to a diploma.

So, we’re working with a large group of folks who aren’t educated enough on the matter to understand that one plus one is really three or that condoms break (a lot).

What if the pregnancy takes a turn for the worst and both mother and child are in danger? What about an ectopic pregnancy?

Well, since both are considered “people” now, doctors are required to do everything to save both lives and, if necessary, make the choice of one or none.

Which comes first: the human or the cells?

We can play the “what if?” game all week with this initiative because, despite how appealing it might sound to the conservative constituents pushing for it to pass, the whole plan is wholly flawed. Every query can spark six more, and the “what if?” game doesn’t provide answers.

This election is coming and there seems to be no plan to derail the speeding train. Women, go vote. Men who love your women, go vote. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

@ The Daily Mississippian — Oxford, Miss.


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