Women's Right Advocates Victorious in Defeating Mississippi Personhood Amendment
In an exciting and important victory for women's rights advocates, Mississippi voters defeated the Personhood Amendment. While the state went Republican and voted for many candidates who supported Initiative 26, a state constitutional personhood amendment that would have given full rights to fertilized eggs, women's rights supporters successfully defeated this dangerous initiative 58% to 42% with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
The Feminist Majority Foundation Campus Choices organizers were on the ground in Mississippi working with hundreds of Mississippians on college campuses, the statewide coalition against Initiative 26, Mississippians for Healthy Families, and the only remaining clinic providing abortion services, the Jackson Women's Health Organization. The Feminist Majority Foundation had a national campus organizing team, on-the-ground student organizers and scores of volunteers who organized thousands of students on the major campuses. Its signs and stickers, which read "Vote NO on 26, Save Women's Lives" were also featured in major news outlets, including the New York Times and the Mississippi Clarion Ledger
A tremendous number of young people, in particular young women, as well as African Americans and even Republicans, went to the polls to defeat the dangerous initiative. Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal stated, "Although starting from behind, as soon as the public learned of harmful impact, we soared in the polls probably picking up more than 40% of the vote in the last two weeks."
If passed, Initiative 26, which proposed to give constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, would have banned 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. The Personhood Amendment would have even gone so far as to eliminate medical choices for women, including some cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization, and could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.
Anti-abortion and anti-birth control extremists have indicated that they intend to put a similar measure on
six state ballots in 2012. So far, reproductive rights supporters have defeated anti-choice state ballot measures in South Dakota, Colorado, and California in 2006 and 2008; in Colorado in 2010, and now Mississippi in 2011.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .