Mississippi’s Initiative 26 Personhood Bill Horror Movie
So you know those classic 1980’s horror movies where the teenagers are all going about life, holding their keggers at someone’s house while their parents are away from home, and suddenly the prom queen is stabbed to death by some unseen assailant? And then the kids are all taking a hike through the woods because all kids like to take hikes through the woods, and one of them is garrotted? And then the teens are all having a meeting to talk about this invisible psycho who is killing all the kids in this town and DURING THE MEETING, one of the kids is suddenly covered in knife slashes and everyone is sprayed with blood?
You totally get how three kids could be taken by the Jason-Freddie-Krueger-Michael-Myers-mashup, I mean, these things happen. But it’s when the kids creep into the deserted, burned out house at the edge of town where the monster once lived that you finally scream at the movie screen, “you are so fucking stupid!”
That’s pretty much how I sum up my reaction to Mississippi’s Initiative 26 which goes to vote tomorrow morning.
It’s a horror movie starring your uterus.
A Life Begins at the Moment of Fertilization Amendment will appear on the November 8, 2011 general election ballot in the state of Mississippi as an indirect initiated constitutional amendment. State election officials have numbered the proposal as Initiative 26. The measure proposes adding language to the Mississippi Constitution that declares that life begins at “the moment of fertilization.”
Well that’s okay you say, because you believe that life begins at conception. But there is a huge gap between believing something and creating laws that govern other people. There are plenty of things I believe with all my heart, but very few of which I need you to believe too in order to have my own personal happiness. When we take our beliefs and force others to comply with them, what we end up with is not only fascism, but laws that have the ability to stab you in the ass when you least expect it.
We’ve seen backdoor abortion bills try to pass in the past. What are backdoor abortion bills? They are laws that effective outlaw abortion by going through the backdoor of lawmaking since they can no longer go through the front door and contradict laws on the books. By going through the backdoor, they create laws that cover things other than abortion that can effectively be used to apply to abortion in the future. It’s like a Jedi mind trick: “these are not the abortion laws you’re looking for.”
We saw it back in 2008 in Georgia. And we saw it in 2010 in Oklahoma. And now we’re seeing it at 2011 in Mississippi — and these personhood (or personhood-type) bills are starting to feel like the legal version of the Jason-Freddie-Krueger-Michael-Myers-mashup: jumping out to slash our reproductive rights.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: reproductive rights are reproductive rights, and if you want the freedom to choose whether or not you have access to fertility treatments, you need to support other reproductive rights. Legal wranglings are not a pu-pu platter where you can say hands-off my embryos and making decisions for me about their creation and storage but then leave women who want to choose whether or not they carry a child back on the plate. Either your government’s hands are in your uterus or they’re not. And frankly, the only hands I want near my uterus are the ones attached to my RE who is making decisions in regards to my reproductive (and emotional) health by tailoring those decisions to my own unique situation. The only people I want making decisions that affect my body are my doctor and myself — and my body extends to people I create with my body.
And yes, as Ezra Klein of The Washington Post points out, this has everything to do with fertility treatments:
The Mississippi ballot has incredibly important legal implications: no state has ever given an embryo constitutional rights and, legally, it’s not quite clear what happens when you do. There is a lot of speculation that it could outlaw infertility treatments and birth control, while almost certainly banning abortion. If passed, the Mississippi law would near certainly bait a legal challenge that could wind its way up to the Supreme Court.
I want a woman to have a right to choose because I believe women are smart enough to choose when they want to have children and when they don’t. I don’t believe that the government needs to tell me when to have a baby or when not to have a baby. I really believe that you, and you, and even you, are intelligent enough to know whether utilizing an abortion is the right choice for you. And I don’t want laws that are going to make accessing fertility treatments harder for infertile men and women.
Anti-abortion activists haven’t been able to get in through the political front door. So they have gone after instead what they can influence through the back door. And to that I say hands-off my fucking embryos and uterus.
Oh, and don’t answer the phone since the call is coming from inside the house.
Other people are writing about MS-26 (and if you did too, please let me know in the comment section below and I’ll move you onto the list):
- Magpie Musing
- Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed
- The Dragondreamer’s Lair
- A Steel Magnolia
- Health Breaks Loose
- Parents Against MS 26
- Fertility Lab Insider
- Don’t Take the Repeats
- The Hardest Quest
- Family Building with a Twist
- Brett Cottrell
Photo Credit: Double Feature Podcast