Result of 'Personhood Amendment' Vote Shows Mississippi Isn't Totally Nuts

protesters holding signs to keep abortion safe and legalYesterday's election results are in, and the "personhood amendment" on the ballot in Mississippi that had anti-abortionists cheering from the rooftops has been defeated. More than 55 percent of the state's voters said "hell no" to the initiative. Now, Mississippi women can rest assured that their federal right to a safe, legal abortion will not be compromised by the proposed law, which purported to "protect unborn babies" by defining a fertilized egg as a person (even in the cases of rape or incest). It would have also threatened fertility treatment techniques, like in vitro fertilization.

If the amendment had passed, it would have undoubtedly stirred up legal trouble downstream, as it was such a BLATANT attempt to overturn the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Now that the amendment has failed, its supporters will be the ones to take a step back -- not those of us who would prefer to see our states and nation move forward.

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What happened yesterday in Mississippi is no fluke. It illustrated just how unready even one of the most conservative states in the nation is for extreme laws that throw women's health and choices under the bus. "Personhood" amendments have now failed in two states: Mississippi and Colorado (in 2008 and 2010), but that alone is reassuring. I see the trend as proof that most Americans aren't interested in turning the clock back completely to a pre-1973 world.

I take it to mean that there are fewer people out there interested in derailing progress and more people out there who value women controlling their own destinies. And that's heartening to say the least.

Now, this isn't to say that there aren't people on the right who won't continue to attempt to chip away at or even challenge Roe. The issue continues to be so contentious and polarizing that I'm positive we'll be duking it out on the state level for years to come. (In fact, the always enterprising organization Personhood USA is pushing to get initiatives similar to this Mississippi one on 2012 ballots in Florida, Montana, Ohio, and Oregon.) But the defeat of this amendment in Mississippi is a resounding, significant win ... one that will not only be celebrated, but also prepare us for the ongoing fight ahead.

Are you surprised the "Personhood Amendment" was defeated? Do you agree that this shows the majority of Americans are not interested in overturning Roe?

 

Image via barb.howe/Flickr

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