Posts Tagged ‘birth control’
So you think the next key election will be in 2012?
If you’re a registered voter get out your calendar and put a big red circle around November 8th. This is when Mississippi voters will be asked to decide ballot Initiative #26: The “Personhood Amendment.”
Wait a minute. Is “personhood” even a word? No matter. If Initiative 26 is passed it will suddenly become a household term as Article III, Section 1 of the Mississippi State Constitution is amended to define “person” or “persons” to include “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
That would undoubtedly make abortion illegal. And much, much more.
While there are many Mississippians who in good conscience would like to outlaw abortion, this strangely phrased initiative doesn’t stop there. It could ultimately be interpreted to ban most birth control pills, Plan B (the emergency morning-after pill), various IUDs, in vitro fertilization and stem-cell research.
Not to worry ladies – chastity belts, diaphragms and the good old rhythm method will still be permissible. For the time being, anyway.
The government has no business selecting contraception for its citizens. Frankly, the idea that bureaucrats believe this is in their scope of power is horrifying.
It’s not as if Mississippi is The Chastity State. A recent study by the Mississippi Economic Policy Center reported 76 percent of high school students admit that they’ve had sex by the 12th grade. Chances are that number is actually higher. Moreover, we all know Mississippi has the highest national teenage pregnancy rate.
Some want to use these grim statistics as ammunition in an on-going argument for extensive sex education for students. Please. Public schools are educational institutions that should be teaching children academics. Period. In a state with one of the highest illiteracy rates everything else is superfluous. In fact, all sex-ed classes ought to be scrapped. Just as government shouldn’t inject itself into contraceptive decisions, neither should it take on the role of parents in teaching children about sexual norms and personal values.
Accompanying those deplorable statistics is an especially discouraging one: the Magnolia State also has the highest child poverty rate in the country. The cost of these social problems is steep: The Mississippi Business Journal reports that taxpayers are on the hook for more than $154 million annually due mostly to lost tax revenues, incarcerations and foster care associated with teen parents.
Given this dismal picture, it is simply mean-spirited to propose making access to contraception nearly impossible for Mississippi women.
The Personhood lobby wants you to believe that this is simply a feel-good pro-life measure. Don’t be fooled. There is much more at stake this November than a pro-choice versus pro-life vote. Once this initiative is enshrined in law, Mississippi women could find themselves forced to cross state lines for basic contraceptives.
Even more curious than the intentions of those backing this initiative is the timing of the vote. Remember, 2011 is an off-year election. The architects of the Personhood Amendment seem to be counting on low voter turnout to ram through this sweeping change to Mississippi law. It’s a clever scheme to rally their supporters to get out and vote, while the rest of the population sleeps.
This is an old political trick. Don’t fall for it.
In fact, beware of any political movement that can only succeed if the majority of voters stay home.
Opponents of the Personhood Amendment, such as the ACLU, are confident that even if Initiative 26 passes, it will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional and nullified. Great. But that will take years of litigation and countless taxpayer dollars. Worse, in the meantime Mississippians will have to live under a bad law.
If you’re registered to vote in Mississippi go to the polls on November 8th. Show the shortsighted “Personhood” lobby that smart people vote even in off-year elections.
And this time they’re saying “no.”
Bryn Kerrigan Mahan is a Senior Political Science major from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a member of the Ole Miss Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty and a contributor to UMFreedom.com. She can be contacted at email@example.com.