NAPW & Grassroots Opposition to Mississippi's "Personhood" Measure
On November 8th, 2011, Mississippians will vote on Proposition 26, a ballot measure that, if passed, would alter the state constitution, redefining the word “person” to include every human being from the moment of fertilization. While similar measures were defeated in Colorado by wide margins, in 2008 and again in 2010, many people worry that this measure will pass easily in Mississippi.
What few - in Mississippi or beyond - anticipated was the strong grassroots opposition that has emerged against the proposition. This week, National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s newest staff attorney, Allison Korn, published a commentary in RHReality Check describing the amazing grassroots rising there.
Allison is southern, by birth and education. She is a native Memphian, born and bred in Memphis, Tennessee. She is also a proud alumnae of the University of Mississippi School of Law. Now, working out of New Orleans, Louisiana as NAPW’s legal advocate and organizer in the South, she is both a witness to and a participant in a growing grassroots movement throughout Mississippi.
Allison has been traveling throughout Mississippi to talk about Proposition 26 and how it threatens the personhood of all pregnant women. Her commentary about Prop 26 was published in the Hattiesburg American and this week, NAPW released a new video about Prop 26 that we expect will get significant play across the state.
Grassroots activism is also emerging in Indiana and continuing to build in Oklahoma. In Indiana, students from Butler College organized a public demonstration in support of Bei Bei Shuai outside of the Marion County jail where she has been held without bail on murder and attempted feticide charges since March. (Ms. Shuai attempted suicide while pregnant –she survived but her baby did not). Though small, this demonstration garnered a story in the Indianapolis Star and promises to be the first of many grassroots actions in support of Ms. Shuai. And, in Oklahoma, students and other state based activists, with NAPW and other support, are organizing the second regional reproductive justice conference, Take Root: Red State Perspective on Reproductive Justice, to be held in Norman, Oklahoma on Friday, February 24, 2012.
No matter what happens on November 8 in Mississippi, NAPW will continue to recognize, support, and encourage the growing grassroots Reproductive Justice activism in Southern and Midwestern states across the country. NAPW doesn’t litigate and leave. We litigate, educate, build, and honor. We hope you will join us in this effort.