This is not a person (but soon it might be called one in Mississippi)

This is not a person image
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Last reminder: Today Mississippi is voting on an amendment that would take legal rights away from women and give them to fertilized eggs. Yesterday a survey found voters perfectly split–with 45% supporting the amendment and 44% opposed. That means over 10% of voters still need to hear just how extreme this initiative is–and be convinced to get to the polls.

So if you’re in Mississippi, help get out the vote. And everyone should spread the word. Tell folks to vote NO on the Personhood amendment (Initiative 26) and on the Voter ID measure (Initiative 27). Just say no, y’all.

Tomorrow: Mississippi tries to re-define “person”
How Mississippi’s personhood measure will hurt pregnant women
Quick Hit: Mississippi’s “Personhood” amendment likely to pass

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • Lynn

    This whole personhood thing is so disgusting that I have no words. I really don’t. This year has been horrible politically for women, and I feel like I just walk around angry and hurt all the time. As a survivor, watching other people try to decide what’s okay for me to do wth my body is really taking an emotional toll on me, and I feel alone, because I work in an office of all guys with issues of esquire thrown everywhere and even my boyfriend is sick of me always talking about feminist issues and being upset and angry. The other day, he asked my why rape is so much worse than any other violent crime like assault or mugging, and I had no words. I feel really alone. How do you guys deal with the day to day of this? I could use some coping strategies, sisters! Any ideas?

    • toongrrl

      Me too! I have family that believes in this shit!

    • Evelyn

      As far as responses to that sickening question are concerned, ask your boyfriend this: what would you rather happen to you, get mugged or get raped, get shot or get raped (etc.)? The answer to the question is a no-brainer, and it highlights the reality that everyone is vulnerable to sexual predators–not just women.

      I do not know you or your boyfriend, but in my life I have been very cautious of dating people who are not open to learning about women’s issues (and gender politics in general). Your boyfriend might be very naive on the subject, and you are courageous for attempting to engage him in conversation. But if he routinely dismisses your beliefs and fails to stand up for your own liberation (on the grounds that feminism is annoying), then he is no good for you. You deserve to be with someone who is angered by the constant political attempts to strip women of their autonomy. You deserve to be with someone who is as invested in gender equality as you are.

      Again, your boyfriend might otherwise be a great guy, and I encourage you to keep on reaching out to him. But, as you know, there are so many things to be angered about in this world (your gross coworkers being just a drop in the bucket). Don’t let a close-minded boyfriend be one of those things. You are not alone. There are so many people (including me) who feel exactly as you do: frustrated with the world and eager to make changes. The best you can do to ease your anger is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Unfortunately, you can’t fire your coworkers, but you can definitely fire your boyfriend if he fails to make you feel less alone in this world.

    • emmie

      Oh my god Lynn, dump your boyfriend. If he really has to ask you why rape is worse, or gets mad at you because you hate sexism, and it clearly upsets you, then he’s really not good for you.

    • ebetsch

      Lynn, ask your boyfriend if he would feel it the same to be raped as to be beaten, ask it like you would to a friend without anger. If he thinks rape of a man is worse then he has a problem that is worthy of concern. Rape is a form of violence, it is in the same category as assault, it is called sexual assault, but it has a moral breaking aspect because it can only happen after you are the loser of the physical struggle and you have lost the right to protect you interior self and dismantles the ability to be vulnerable when having concentual sex. Therefor stealing future joy from a person as well, maybe he can understand it that way. If you love him help him become a real man. Seems his childhood didn’t get him there so share in his growth. Remember anger is alienating to all of us.

  • Courtney

    Actually, it kind of is a difficult concept. While I applaud everyone at feministing for their extensive coverage on this important issue and think this personhood amendment is completely flawed and erroneous, I take issue with the statement you make here – simply stating a fertilized egg is not a person, end of story, when there are so many differing opinions on when human life begins. There really is no consensus. Obviously there is no magical moment of conception where a person is created – fertilization is a process. But when can we define the beginning of humanity? At birth? At 14 weeks gestation? 22? I think the fact that there is no consensus is actually kind of a good thing – it’s what allows for freedom of choice. The fact that MS is attempting to force a consensus onto women is problematic because their taking away ANY choice the woman has at all for issues concerning her body. The ambiguity that exists, however, is good because it allows for people to make their own decisions without any government interference. I’m guessing you believe personhood begins at birth and I understand that. However that is your opinion – not a fact. Many people may agree with this opinion, but many people – who are pro-choice – disagree, and believe life begins sometime in the womb. People should be allowed to make this decision for themselves.

    • Evelyn

      When the graphic claims “this is not a difficult concept” it is specifically referencing Mississippi’s proposed legal definition of personhood. Certainly, the moral implications of personhood is a difficult concept, and coming to a consensus on its legal definition is a unique challenging. Yet, deciding whether we should give a fertilized egg the same legal rights as every other postnatal human is NOT a difficult concept. Understandably, the graphic does not capture the complexity of this message. Then again, it uses a false analogy by comparing a human zygote to an unfertilized chicken egg sitting in a bowl.

      • Courtney

        Thanks for explaining tha.t I understand what you’re saying – and like you mentioned, my issue with the graphic was mostly the analogies that it used. It may not seem like a big deal it just kind of struck me. I think it’s good that people are fighting back against MS legal definition of what personhood is and I now understand what this graphic was going for. It just kind of stood out to me at first – but that’s probably what the designer wanted!

  • Rachel

    @Lynn, I know what you mean. It’s been overwhelming. It’s felt like a near constant assault for a while now. It feels like war, lately. I guess I don’t really have a coping strategy, come to think of it. I just try to ignore the war outside and hunker down with a cocktail and my girlfriend and a good movie.

  • Jackie

    I am a Silkworm, and I approve this message!

screenshot of ship from Vessel

Watch the new doc on one doctor’s quest to offer safe abortion where it’s illegal

The new documentary Vessel tells the story of Women on Waves, founded by Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts who sailed the world in an “abortion ship,” offering off-shore medical abortions in the international waters surrounding countries where abortion is outlawed. Her project eventually morphed into Women on Web, which does great, life-saving work by sending abortion pills by mail to people lacking legal access. The film has opened in NYC, and is now available for streaming on iTunes.

Also, be sure to check out this interview with director/producer Diana Whitten on the Community site. As she notes, the story, unfortunately, holds particular relevance in the US today. “Due to recent legislative attacks on reproductive healthcare, the situation for U.S. women in many ...

The new documentary Vessel tells the story of Women on Waves, founded by Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts who sailed the world in an “abortion ship,” offering off-shore medical abortions in the international waters surrounding countries where abortion is ...