Pro-life? If established, this measure will actually cost women’s lives. Small government? The amendment establishes a government that will fit into every womb in the Magnolia State.
The proposed amendment to the Mississippi constitution or “Initiative 26", would define as a person "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof" would be the most radical, draconian law to come to the United States in a half century.
The logic is so absurd—so insane—it is essentially claiming that any fertile woman of child-bearing age who has just engaged in unprotected sex will actually split — bada bing! — into two separate human beings the moment sperm meets egg! Sort of an inverse of “Left Behind”—this has got to be the mother of all WTF ideas!
A few poorly funded women's groups in the state have been working hard to inform voters of the ramifications, but their efforts have mostly fallen on the self-righteous and brainwashed in the churches who have been hammered by Brother Billy Bobs into believing that good, Christian women are to be submissive, ovum-filled citadels lying in wait for the babies God will be instructing his manservant, the head-of-the-household, to make.
A statement by the Feminist Majority Foundation said: "The implications are staggering. By giving constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, the amendment 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 would eliminate medical choices for women, such as some cancer treatments and in-vitro fertilization. It could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage. Undoubtedly, it would lead to many court cases.
Mississippi—the poorest state, with the highest dropout rates, lowest number of people with health insurance, highest illiteracy rates, highest teen pregnancy rates, highest infant mortality rates, and greatest number of food stamp recipients in the country — will now become the state where 9-year old girls who are raped and impregnated by some sick pedophile—-a step-father, uncle, mother’s boyfriend or perhaps even a coach or preacher—- will be forced by the government to bear her rapist's child.
Where the poorest women, who rely exclusively on community health services, will have more unplanned, unwanted pregnancies because birth control pills and other reliable forms of contraception will be outlawed.
The proposed amendment is so deplorabe, even Governor Haley Barbour, who has thumped his chest proudly for years for being one of the most strident anti-abortion politicians in America is expressing "concern" about the amendment’s implications. 'Ol Haley has courted and stoked the extremist nutbaggery for years. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost. He is worried that state coffers, already thinned by hurricanes, oil spills, and other disasters, will be sucked dry by legal battles.
So who, exactly, would have so much contempt for women they would want to not only criminalize all abortion, but ban birth control and in-vitro fertilization? Who could propose laws that would seek government investigations for miscarriages? Who would want women and girls essentially returned to the Dark Ages?
The crackpot most responsible for dreaming up the 'personhood" ballot initiative is a fellow named Les Riley. Mr. Riley is the founder and director of a far-right Christian separatist group called Christian Exodus. According to their mission statement, their goal is "to move thousands of Christian constitutionalists to South Carolina to accelerate the return of self-government based upon Christian principles with the ultimate goal of forming an independent Christian nation that will survive after the decline and fall of the financially and morally bankrupt American empire."
Mr. Riley, a self-described “eighth-generation Mississippian who is proud to be an outspoken proponent of an agrarian lifestyle” is married with nine children, and serves as the chairman of the Constitution Party of Mississippi, a political group that advocates for secession. He is also a past member of the neo-Confederate League of the South.
Mr. Riley and his band of extremist whackjobs are so dangerous they can only described as The American Taliban. By working through churches and right-wing groups such as the Tupelo-based American Family Association (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tea-publican party) the fanatical have completely mainstream in Mississippi.
If they succeed in getting enough votes to remove women's reproductive freedoms in their own state, they will feel emboldened enough to move on to other states, especially in the South, where religious fundamentalism is strong and well funded. Women in Mississippi have a lot at stake on Tuesday. Hopefully, voters will decide to fall back in time for only an hour, not a half-century.