Monday, January 28, 2013

Not so fast, slick.

As you all remember, during the 2011 election, I dedicated my life to fighting Initiave 26, the Personhood Initiative.  The wording was so vague that it would have had profound effects on birth control, treatment of ectopic pregnancies, in vitro fertilization, and several other women's health issues.  Thankfully, the people of Mississippi read the bill for themselves and agreed with me and Initiative 26 was defeated by nearly a 20% margin.  Even solid pro-lifers were against it because the language was so vague.  Most of them said that with a few exceptions, they'd vote for it in a heartbeat.

Representative Andy Gipson seems to have listened to his constituency and has reworded a Personhood bill that includes the exceptions that gave even the most avid pro-lifers pause.

Or did he?

Read the whole thing here for yourself before I pick it apart like a Thanksgiving turkey.

It's short and an breezy read.  Trust me, I read a lot of bills, it's breezy.  I'll wait.

Done?  Okay.

Let's start with this part:

(3)  This section shall have no effect on and shall not be
construed to prohibit:
          (a)  Contraceptives or other methods of birth control
that do not kill a person; or

If, indeed, "personhood" starts the moment a sperm meets an egg, every single standard method of hormonal birth control could, conceivably, "kill a person."  All hormonal birth control has a tertiary effect of shedding uterine lining to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a uterus.  Research has shown that it is rare, but it is one of the things that makes hormonal birth control so effective.  That is the primary effect of most IUDs except the Mirena, which includes hormones which suppress ovulation and thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from meeting egg.  (Also it makes you lose your hair, get acne, and get fat.  Okay, maybe that was just me.)  This bill's language could still ban all methods of artificial birth control except condoms.

Let's move on to the next part:

(b)  In vitro fertilization or other methods of assisted
reproduction; or

This is soooooooo vague.  I'd have to refer you to my muse Atlee Breland for all the vague (hint hint, Atlee, post a comment), but I do know that cryopreservation, an essential part of the IVF process, can result in a nearly 50% embryonic death.  This bill's language leaves room for a ton of regulation in the IVF industry that would effectively render it useless as a method of conception.

Next up:

(c)  Medical treatment for life threatening physical
conditions intended to preserve life; or

At the point that my ectopic pregnancy was discovered, it was not life-threatening.  My doctor discovered the mass in my fallopian tube and gave me methotrexate immediately to terminate my pregnancy.  An ectopic pregnancy is not life-threatening until the tube actually bursts, and the internal bleeding can kill a woman within a number of hours.  Since literally one in a million ectopic pregnancies result in the birth of a live baby (usually not tubal, just heterotopic), this bill leaves the door open for the elimination of the use of methotrexate or salpingectomy (tubal removal) as treatment for ectopic pregnancies.

I also know a woman who nearly died from a botched miscarriage.  She was bleeding so heavily that she passed out and needed to be hospitalized, but because there was still a detectable heartbeat on the ultrasound, the Catholic hospital she was in refused to perform a D&C on her.  They knew from the amount of blood she was passing that she was going to miscarry and was going to die in the process, but they would not perform the abortion to save her life.  Thankfully, the heartbeat stopped and they performed the D&C just as she was about to die.  Imagine that happening to you.  This bill's language (and the language of the heartbeat bill) leaves that possibility open.

And finally:

(d)  Unintentional termination of a pregnancy by
spontaneous miscarriage."

Except arresting a woman for miscarrying has already happened in Mississippi.  Rennie Gibbs was very young and tested positive for cocaine after her baby was stillborn, although it was determined that the drugs had nothing to do with the baby's death.  She was charged with depraved heart murder and faces life in prison.  Imagine you're a jogger and you miscarry.  Imagine you scoop the cat litter, contract listeriosis, and you miscarry.  Imagine you're at fault for a car wreck and you miscarry.  This bill's language leaves the door open for you to be prosecuted.

Do not be fooled by this bill's language.  It is EXACTLY Initiave 26, but Andy Gipson thinks you're stupid and will fall for the extra "exceptions."  Call him and tell him he's stupid.  Okay, don't tell him he's stupid, but definitely call your representative and let them know that you're not stupid and you don't want this legislation to be passed in Mississippi.


Bill said...

"...however, a person may be required to forfeit his or her life after being convicted of a crime that is punishable by death and being sentenced to death."

But other than that, all your life force are belong to us.

Melinda said...

Keep up the good fight. They don't know whom they're messing with.