Will Conservatives Outlaw Birth Control?


Mississippi loves its fetuses, y’all. Mississippi loves them so much that this fall, the state is allowing its voters to decide whether to add a so-called “Personhood Amendment” to its state constitution.

This measure, called Initiative 26, would add the following text to the constitution,

SECTION 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.

It would ban all abortions, regardless of rape, incest, or health of the mother (because women aren’t people; that’s silly!) and would also outlaw the morning after pill, many forms of hormonal contraceptives, and some IUDs. And the cherry on the shit sundae- it would make in vitro fertilization illegal. Between being America’s most obese state and leading the nation in teen pregnancy, it’s a miracle that the state has found time to propose something so strongly anti-woman. What a bunch of overachievers.

A group of Mississippi doctors has united in opposition of this amendment, and many have pointed out the goofy legal implications of declaring all fertilized embryos to be “persons.” How would inheritance work? Would embryos be allowed to apply for passports? Is freezing an embryo akin to child abuse? Can they apply for credit cards? Will they get Social Security numbers? Can they own property? Do they have free speech rights, like corporations, who are also people? Do you have to buy an extra ticket for your embryo if you want to take it to the opera?

In spite of the sensible opposition to a completely nutty legal idea, the amendment stands a good chance of passing.
Rachel Maddow notes that the state’s ultra conservative electorate’s near-unanimous support of a statewide anti-gay marriage amendment is indicative of just how far to the right of the mainstream voters’ ideology lies. And Katha Pollitt of The Nation suggests that pro-choicers shouldn’t dismiss its threatened passage as a fluke, as actions on both the state and federal level indicate otherwise. The United States Congress, those anti-woman knuckleheads, attempted to defund Planned Parenthood earlier this year, and they would’ve gotten away with it, too, if not for that pesky Senate. Thwarted but undaunted, they’re now going after Title X, the federal program that provides family planning services to low income individuals. States, meanwhile, have unleashed a barrage of anti-choice legislation that seems to be leading down the road to laws similar to Mississippi’s proposed constitutional amendment. Pollitt notes,

GOP-led governments have voted to cut or eliminate PP funding in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin, Texas and New Jersey. Yes, New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie, hero of Republicans who also happen to be sane, eliminated the state’s $7.5 million budget for family planning. And yes, Texas, where Governor Rick “N-wordhead” Perry slashed family planning funds from $111.5 million to $37.9 million. Meanwhile, since you can always find money for the things you really want, he boosted aid to antichoice crisis pregnancy centers to $8.3 million.

Here’s where it gets even scarier: A group that calls itself “Personhood USA” plans to introduce similar measures in half of the states by next year. In an NPR interview quoted in Pollitt’s piece, the (male, obviously) president of the organization was cagey when asked about the birth control implications of “personhood” amendments on woman like his wife, saying that she could switch to diaphragms if it came down to it. Or he could wear condoms. Because what America needs is a set of constitutional amendments that require marital sex to be lamer than comedians already say it is.

Anyway, start hoarding birth control now, ladies. Because soon you might have to buy it from a beponytailed guy named Simon who calls himself Si-money and lives above a smoke shop.

Ban Birth Control? They wouldn’t dare… [The Nation]

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