If you're a fan of women having reproductive rights, break out your finest bottle of champagne and do a celebratory dance in your living room. Realizing that they enjoy having access to hormonal contraceptives, IUDs, the morning after pill, in vitro fertilization, and yes, safe and legal abortion, Mississippi voters have voted down a ballot initiative that would have declared fertilized eggs are full-fledged people whose interests trump those of the woman whose uterus they need to survive.
The measure, called Initative 26, would have added a line to Mississippi's constitution that reads, "The term ‘person' or ‘persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof." The L.A. Times reports that as of 10:40 p.m. ET, 57% had voted to reject the measure and 43% supported it. Anti-choicers had hoped to use the new amendment not only to ban all abortions in Mississippi with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the mother's health, but to challenge Roe v. Wade.
Yet, the fact that similar measures have now been defeated twice in Colorado and once in Mississippi probably won't convince personhood nutjobs that outlawing birth control and IVF is too extreme even for most people who would like to see abortion made illegal. According to the Associated Press, the group Personhood USA is still trying to put these types of initiatives on the ballot in Florida, Montana, Ohio, and Oregon in 2012.
This is a much-needed win for pro-choicers, and it's certainly a relief to see sanity win out. For now women won't be forced to start smuggling cases of birth control pills across state lines, but we're still facing a relentless attack on reproductive rights. Mississippi only has one abortion clinic, and multiple restrictions on the procedure. Unfortunately, anti-choicers won't take this vote as confirmation that they don't have the right to force their personal beliefs on the rest of us.