Signature Drive for 2015 Mississippi Personhood Begins
Last week, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood approved the language for a 2015 ballot measure that would amend the Mississippi state constitution to define life as beginning at conception. Now, supporters must collect 107,216 valid signatures of Mississippi voters to add it to the Mississippi ballot in 2015.
Initiative Measure No. 41, originally approved by the state legislature on March 5, would ask Mississippi voters "Should the Mississippi Constitution be amended to state that the right to life as a person begins at conception?" If approved, it would add the following amendment to the Mississippi Constitution: "The right to life begins at conception. All human beings at every stage of development are unique, created in the image of God, and shall enjoy the inalienable right to life as persons under law."
Already, opposition to Initiative Measure 41 is growing. A petition and Facebook group called "No Means NO: Mississippians United Against Personhood" was started to raise awareness about the renewed Personhood drive and to gather signatures against Measure 41.
In 2011 Mississippi voters defeated a similar Personhood Amendment. Women's rights supporters successfully defeated the dangerous Initiative 26, a state constitutional personhood amendment that would have given full rights to fertilized eggs, 58% to 42% with 96 percent of precincts reporting. 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. Initiative Measure No. 41, if approved by voters and signed into law, would also ban abortion in all cases, many forms of birth control, and other vital reproductive health services.
In addition, President Obama attacked Personhood efforts at the Planned Parenthood nation conference on Friday. The President called the 2011 Personhood Amendment in Mississippi "absurd" and "an assault on women's rights." He continued, "and that's why when the people of Mississippi were given a chance to vote on that initiative, they turned it down. And Mississippi is a conservative state."
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 4/30/2013; Jackson Clarion Ledger 4/26/2013, 4/24/2013; Feminist Newswire 11/9/2011
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. The court's decision denied their request to temporarily block the legislation pending a final ruling on its constitutionality, rubber stamping the efforts of Oklahoma politicians to force doctors to use an outdated protocol for administering a medication abortion using the drug mifepristone - one that the medical community and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have rejected in favor of a new standard of care that calls for a significantly lower dosage. . . .
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .