I couldn’t be happier with the news coming out of Mississippi tonight: The amendment to grant personhood to a zygote has failed. Hallelujah!
That’s right, tonight those who fight to protect a woman’s autonomy over her own body and the right to choose all available forms of safe, legal health care WON!
Many put odds on a tight race in the Bible Belt state, which already has some of the strictest laws regarding abortion, including parental consent, mandatory counseling, and a 24-hour waiting period. Indeed, it is one of the states where abortion would be outlawed if Roe v Wade were ever overturned. There is no doubt that this was a pivotal battleground in the anti-choice lobby’s national personhood campaign against reproductive freedoms.
This is a big win — and not just for the residents of Mississippi.
In fact, some of prochoice warriors on the ground in Mississippi this week were from our very own Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada. If you are wondering why prochoice activists from Nevada care about personhood, you haven’t been paying attention my friends. Not only did we fight off a personhood ballot initiative last year, but now there is not just one but (potentially) two personhood ballot initiatives for the 2012 election. And we’re not alone. At least six states (including Nevada) are facing personhood laws on the ballot in 2012.
The concept behind the personhood campaign is to do an end-run around Roe v Wade. The new anti-choice agenda is to make the argument a preemptive one: Life begins at conception. If this ideology is codified into law, it nullifies decades of hard-fought reproductive freedoms. And we’re not just talking about abortion here. We’re also talking about certain forms of birth control and the potential for ramifications for fertility treatments, roadblocks to life-saving medical treatment for pregnant women, and in some cases can even impact end of life health care options.
Let’s put this another way: If you are pissed that corporations have personhood (ahem, Occupy folks) … imagine if a cluster of cells too small to be seen with the naked eye had all the same rights that you do. And what’s even more infuriating about this concept is that in the personhood scenario the zygote has the power to cancel out all of your personal autonomy, essentially hijacking not only your body but your rights as an equal member of society. Because that is what we’re talking about. (And before you launch into some comments about how I’m anti pregnancy or anti baby, let me remind you that I had a planned and very healthy pregnancy that resulted in my very loved daughter.) This is a full-on assault on a woman’s autonomy. This strikes at the very core of equality of women. After all, how can women be considered equal to men in a society that reduces someone’s being to the contents of her uterus?
I am not a uterus with legs. And the presence of a uterus in my body does not disconnect the circuits in my brain.
And furthermore, as a prochoice Christian, I would also like to say to all these personhood fanatics: You don’t speak for me or my faith. And you definitely do not speak for God or any other higher power. Humble yourselves before the Lord. And why don’t you go worry about the planks in your own eyes before you start hunting down tweezers for splinters in anyone elses. Mmmkay?