Another election, another attempt to strip women of their autonomy over their own body in favor of an unborn fetus that may have been conceived through rape or incest and may actually be harmful to the woman's health. Every election, anti-abortion restrictions find their way onto the ballot in some state—this year, three states are duking it out over women's rights to their own body.
As Mother Jones points out, Colorado, North Dakota, and Tennessee are all facing extreme anti-abortion measures in their ballots this fall, and it looks like pro-life legislation has really upped the ante this year.
Remember personhood? The pro-life idea that an unborn fetus should be legally recognized and afforded constitutional rights which trump the rights of the pregnant woman. The idea that life starts at fertilization of the egg, rendering abortion at any stage of pregnancy cold-blooded murder, even in cases of rape and incest.
Colorado is no stranger to personhood (having shot it down basically every couple years), but this year, pro-lifers have taken their battle to the next level with Amendment 67, which claims to "protect pregnant women" when, really it basically renders all women suspects in potential murder cases. Seriously. Yeah, Amendment 67 has all the normal god-awful aspects like banning all abortion in the state including in cases of rape, incest, and when the mother's health is at risk, like denying a woman with cancer life-saving treatment.
It would also ban emergency contraceptives, regular birth control, and would restrict IVF for women who want to start a family. But it also deems any birth that isn't a live birth suspicious and open to investigation, meaning any woman who doesn't give birth to a live baby, whether an abortion, a miscarriages, or a still births could be considered a criminal. Of course we've seen this feticide bullshit happen before in Indiana, but still, fuck that.
Constitutional Measure No. 1 aims to add a little note to the state constitution, legally granting rights to fetuses, stating the "inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected." Notice it makes no mention of pregnancy or fetus or conception or any of the other big Personhood indicators. Sneaky.
This could of course lead to some strict abortion measures, forcing victims of rape and incest to carry a pregnancy, and could be used to criminalize women who miscarry or have a stillborn baby. As the North Dakota Coalition for Privacy in Health Care points out, the measure could also "nullify wills and advance directives that instruct caregivers to stop life support." Keep in mind that only in April a federal judge struck down North Dakota's law that banned all abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat, so anything is possible.
Tennessee's attempt to outlaw abortion and criminalize pregnant women seeking one does not even try to hide the fact that they simply do not care about women. Tennessee has already passed a bill allowing women to be charged with assault or homicide if they suffer pregnancy complications after illegal drug use. They're definitely not dicking around down there. And the state's Constitutional Amendment 1 straight up lets people know that nothing can save them if they want and/or need an abortion:
Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
That's not a joke people. You're not crazy. Stop rubbing your eyes. That's what it says. And there are folks in Tennessee who really believe in that garbage. And they're willing to burn a lot of cash over it as the battle over this is set to be the most expensive in Tennessee history.
Image via Getty.