Law could have affected UNA students

by Ann Harkey Staff Writer

Fifty-seven percent of the voting residents in Mississippi voted against Initiative 26 on Nov. 9.

The initiative would have altered the definition of a “person” to include a fertilized egg, eventually labeling all abortion as murder, banning Plan B and limiting the options of birth control methods substantially.

It would also ban in-vitro fertilization, because multiple fertilized eggs are needed to be successful. It would require all leftover eggs be used for other procedures or given up for adoption.

Personhood USA was the organization behind the redefinition. They describe “personhood” as the legal and cultural recognition of the equal and unalienable rights of human beings.

If it had passed, it would have limited the options Mississippi women had to birth control to condoms and a few types of birth control pills.

According to Dr. Jonathan Burgess, a local pharmacist, the birth control methods that consisted of progestin, a hormone that prevents the attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus, would have more than likely have been targeted. This would ban in-uterine devices and implantation methods.

He explains, however, that there is currently no law that would prevent Alabama pharmacies from selling birth control to Mississippi residents, especially if they had a prescription. As of right now, pharmacists hold the right to withhold the selling of Plan B without a prescription.

Many women feel this initiative would have been an infringement on their personal rights as human beings and citizens of the U.S. It would ban all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. It would also ban abortions in ectopic pregnancies until immediate danger occurred.

“I think that’s a woman’s choice,” said Emily Horn Kelley, coordinator of the UNA Women’s Center. “That right lies with each individual woman-it’s that simple. As someone who had a pregnancy in my ovary, I think it is foolish to not allow an abortion during an ectopic pregnancy. I almost bled to death myself. Had I not been so close to a hospital, I would have died.”

UNA students from Mississippi feel strongly about the issue.

“I think the government should control criminal acts like murder, which is what I think abortion is,” said Pam Scheske, a junior at UNA from Tupelo, Miss. “While I’m pro-life, I think the proposition was way too ambiguous. I don’t think the government should control a woman’s uterus.”

Some students feel the issue is complicated.

” I think it should have left out the birth control part,” said Brittany Damons, a junior at UNA from Corinth, Miss. “In Mississippi, politics are too based in religion. In no way do I think abortions are right, but I think different circumstances call for different actions.”