Tomorrow, voters in Mississippi will go to the polls and decide whether or not to approve a constitutional amendment that is likely to ban abortion in all cases, including rape, incest, and anything but a life-threatening medical emergency, would possibly ban all chemical forms of birth control and IUDs, and could drastically reduce the availability and types of infertility treatments.
And at this point, there is no clear idea if the amendment is going to pass or not.
Initiative 26, the constitutional amendment that would define an egg at the moment of fertilization to have the same legal rights as a person, has become one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in the country. Now, just hours before the polls will open, support of the amendment appears to be evenly split. According to a recent poll, 45 percent of Mississippi voters support the initiative, and 44 oppose it. That leaves 11 percent who still haven’t made up their minds.
The lack of any sort of exception for cases of rape has one former victim incensed. Christen Hemmins, an advocate against the amendment, told CBS News, “People on the ‘yes’ side keep saying to me, ‘Well, don’t punish the baby, punish the rapist.’ But what they leave out of that equation is me. If this had been in place, and I had gotten pregnant, I wouldn’t have had any options. I would have been forced by the state government to bear a child, which might have killed me, physically, if not emotionally.”
And medical professional are also concerned that if the amendment passes, they will be unable to deal with conditions like ectopic pregnancies before a woman’s life is actually at risk. “If that pregnancy continues to grow, it can rupture and kill the woman. By ending the life of the ectopic pregnancy, I would be committing homicide,” one doctor stated.
If the amendment passes, it will be the first in the nation to do so. Other “personhood” amendments have failed, most recently in Colorado, where voters have voted against it twice.
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