Then doctors, clergy, and average Mississippians started their voicing their opposition and even forming their own opposition groups. There were plenty of out-of-state organizers and professional strategists on board, especially in the last few weeks, but no one could call the conservative Mississippi State Medical Association, the Episcopal and Catholic bishops, and a Southern Baptist minister in the Delta tools of Planned Parenthood. The two most visible activists against 26 were rape survivor and mother of three Cristen Hemmins, who put her name to the original ACLU lawsuit and starred in commercials raising concerns about the lack of rape exceptions; and Atlee Breland, who started Parents Against 26 to focus on concerns about Personhood’s effective banning of in-vitro fertilization. Women like them made their own signs and YouTube videos, wrote lucid FAQs and argued with their Facebook friends who called them babykillers, in addition to canvassing and phone banking.
It helped that it was true to say, as they did over and over again, that it wasn’t “just about abortion” — Initiative 26, at least judging by the intentions of its supporters, was also about banning common forms of birth control, making IVF impossible, and hampering doctors trying to save women with life-threatening pregnancies. But it was also manifestly about abortion. Initiative 26 may have gone down, but Mississippi is still a state with a single abortion clinic, staffed with a doctor flown in from out of state a couple days a week, and with abysmal rates of teen pregnancy and infant mortality. Will any of that change now that even “pro-lifers” have made common cause with the state’s small pro-choice contingent? Or is this just a temporary redrawing of the lines around the reproductive rights most palatable to conservatives, like rape exceptions, just to play defense against increasingly audacious Republican threats?
At the very least, we know that there is such a thing as conservative overreaching — even in Mississippi.
The whole thing is very much worth reading and seems right. And it’s right to be restrained in celebration — abortion access in Mississippi is still dire, and it’s not clear what the radical Mississippi amendment would have actually meant on the ground. But certainly it’s a good thing on balance that these nutty initiatives continue to be zero-for-everywhere, and shows again that even very conservative electorates recoil from accepting the logical implications of anti-choice rhetoric. See also Pema Levy on polling and personhood amendments.
Disappointingly, I checked the Corner, but neither Ponnuru nor K-Lo seems to have commented about Mississippi joining the party of death. I guess Mississippians just didn’t hear more bare assertions about life beginning at conception and conferring rights on zygotes, because the argument is just so compelling liberals are terrified of it!
…making up for the lack of action at NRO, this is some good stuff. If you don’t believe in zygote rights you’re getting your information from the GATES OF HELL!!!!!!!