National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Stands with Mississippi for No on 26

by Natalie D. Camastra, Policy Intern, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

As the only national organization advocating for the fundamental human right to reproductive health and justice for Latinas, their families and their communities, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) stands in solidarity with Mississippians who oppose Proposition 26, which would undermine the rights and health of Latinas and all women:  from those wanting to plan and space their pregnancies to women who want to carry their pregnancies to term healthfully.

On Tuesday, November 8th 2011 Mississippians will go to the polls to vote on a proposition that is being described as one of the most serious threats to a woman’s right to make decisions over her reproductive health. Proposition 26, also known as, “The Personhood Amendment” would amend the Mississippi state constitution to include in its definition of “persons” all human beings from the moment of fertilization, cloning or functional equivalent thereof.  Life, under the proposed amendment, would begin at the moment that a human egg is fertilized.

NLIRH recognizes that by defining a fetus as a “person,” and endowing the fetus with the legal rights and privileges of personhood, the state strips away the rights of women to be the central authorities in all decisions about her reproductive health and choices, even in cases when her life is threatened or endangered.

  • Proposition 26 would outlaw abortion, a medically-safe and legal procedure that three in ten U.S. women will obtain by the age of 45, of which 25% are Latina. Abortion is sometimes necessary to protect the life and health of the pregnant woman.
  • Proposition 26 could outlaw the use of many forms of contraception, including “the pill”, intrauterine devices and the morning-after pill.  In fact, many forms of contraception, including “the pill” work to prevent pregnancy by making the uterus inhospitable to a fertilized egg. Latinas already face myriad challenges to accessing birth control; Proposition 26 would reverse whatever rights and access Latinas in Mississippi have to safe and effective methods of contraception.
  • By lifting the fetus’s rights to those of personhood, Proposition 26 complicates a doctor’s oath to protect the life and health of his or her pregnant patient, which can have serious consequences for the patient’s health.
  • Proposition 26 is misguided: the biological reality is that most fertilized eggs never develop into human begins. Granting these entities with legal rights of personhood goes too far.

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health advocates for a standard of care that will provide Latinas with options to make decisions about their reproductive health and care: these options must be supported by medically accurate information and free from biased and coercive policies and practices.

Proposition 26 relies on biological and reproductive misinformation to undermine whatever reproductive rights and options Latinas and all women have: rights and options necessary to determine her life’s course, her participation in family and society, and her health.

We urge you to stand with us and Mississippians to vote NO on Proposition 26.

Cross-posted from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

This blog post is part of the HERvotes Mississippi Personhood Amendment Blog Carnival. For more information about Proposition 26 and how to help Mississippi defeat the proposition, please visit Mississippians for Healthy Families.

For more information about the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health here.

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