Mitt Romney may support banning abortion even in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother is at risk - an extreme position that no other candidacy for the presidency has adopted - but many Christians and other people of faith oppose such efforts, including Mississippi's Initiative 26.
People throughout the country are taking action to defeat Mississippi Initiative 26, the "personhood" initiative. If passed November 8, it will have far-reaching consequences not only for women and men in Mississippi but for individuals throughout the country. It could be the start of a larger "personhood" agenda. We already know that Nevada, Tennessee, and Florida will have a similar measure on their ballots in 2012.
By legally defining a human being from the moment of fertilization, MS 26 criminalizes abortion without exempting cases of rape, incest, or life of the pregnant woman. As it is written, MS 26 would also prohibit or limit access to vital reproductive health services including hormonal birth control, emergency contraception, fertility treatments and life-saving procedures for women suffering ectopic pregnancies. Personhood USA - the fringe group behind the initiative - moved their efforts to Mississippi after failing to amend the Colorado state constitution in both 2008 and 2010. Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected the extreme measure, but Personhood USA anticipates favorable results from the conservative southern state.
RCRC is working with the coalition of physicians, infertility advocates and reproductive health organizations that has mobilized to challenge the measure and to spread the word about unforeseen consequences of the anti-choice movement’s overreach. Mississippians for Healthy Families, the political committee formed in response to MS 26, says that the amendment “puts politics above the health and safety of women.”
The "personhood" initiative raises troubling moral issues, regardless of a person’s view of abortion. Whil religions across the spectrum respect and value life and many have an official pro-choice position, RCRC has identified these issues as of deep concern:
- The initiative is one-sided and narrow – it concentrates solely on the fetus and ignores the woman’s life entirely.
- Endowing a fetus with legal rights independent of the pregnant woman could set up a conflict that could place the health and dignity of the woman on a lower level.
- In order to ensure that a being is protected legally from the moment of conception, the state might have to administer a pregnancy test to every woman of childbearing age who was raped.
People of faith are also concerned that this initiative would enact into law specific religious views about "personhood" and in doing so, violate the foundational principle of religious freedom.
You can learn more about the bill at http://votenoon26.org/
Here's what Mitt Romeny has to say: