Friday, November 4, 2011

Mississippi initiative could set intrusive precedent


When things are going badly in almost any state, there's always Mississippi to make it look better.

Mississippi holds unenviable positions on many public services lists. It ranks 48th in education. It is No. 1 in poverty and obesity. Currently, 44 percent of Mississippi kids are either overweight or obese, as are 70 percent of adults there.

Like most states, Mississippi has some serious fiscal problems. Money is tight and there is a need to be careful with public resources. Unable to solve its big problems, however, this year Mississippi is trying a different approach: Draw voters' attention to something else.

This new distraction is Ballot Measure 26. Mississippi voters will be asked to decide the question that has, so far, eluded scientists: When, exactly, does human life begin? By voting yes on Measure 26, Mississippi citizens will affirm that "personhood" begins, by legal definition, at the exact moment of fertilization.

This measure has the potential not only to criminalize abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, but also most forms of birth control, in-vitro fertilization and stem-cell research. Couples unable to conceive, individuals with neurological disorders and medical professionals dedicated to their patients will all face the possibility of criminal prosecution.

By voting yes on Measure 26, some of the most conservative voters in the country will allow the state, using its law enforcement powers, to interfere in the most private areas of its citizens' lives in the continuing cultural war on sex and science.

Whatever your personal beliefs about the morality of these issues, even the supporters of Measure 26 admit it likely will be tied up, and will tie up the state of Mississippi, in court for years. Instead of addressing education, poverty or obesity, this Bible Belt state is choosing to focus on theology and biology with the cost of it all falling directly on Mississippi taxpayers.

Mississippi is likely to be the first state where legislation this intrusive will become law. Similar initiatives are being planned in Florida, Montana and Ohio. Can it be long before Idahoans face the same choice?

Wisely, last year, Colorado voters voted down "personhood" measures by a strong majority. But Colorado is Colorado and Mississippi is not. In another year, Mississippians will likely be poorer, less educated and less healthy. The political decisions we make have consequences.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.