Monday, November 7, 2011

Election Day

"A person is a person, no matter how small." ~ Dr. Seuss

[Peyton sporting his Prop. 26 tee and the cutest result of an unplanned pregnancy that I've ever seen.]

Tomorrow we are voting on three initiatives and I thought Peyton and I would share a little about how we'll be voting. First of all the most controversial and (to us) the most important, Proposition 26- The Personhood Initiative. This legislation seeks to outlaw abortions in Mississippi by applying the term "personhood" to the unborn.  It would, of course, be challenged if passed and would eventually, it is assumed, go all the way to the Supreme Court, effectively challenging Roe vs. Wade, which is the hope.

Peyton and I are extremely pro-life and I've written at length about our feelings on life.  I first shared in a little tongue in cheek post about our reasons for choosing not to use oral contraception and Peyton also wrote about it a few times (he never did write a Part Peyton!).  Then later I wrote about Peyton's feelings as a pharmacist on dispensing Plan B and how his feelings and ideas have changed and evolved over time.  In that post, I shared here about how I believe that a baby is *NEVER* a mistake, regardless of the circumstances involved in that child's conception.  Finally, I alluded to our strong feelings on what I've heard called a consistent ethic of life, which is the framework for our beliefs on other life issues, such as capital punishment, euthanasia, and even social justice.  So....I've said a bit about it.

I think it's clear where we stand.  Yet....this wasn't an easy issue, even for us.  The wording of the initiative is unfortunately quite vague and leaves a lot of room for some (in my opinion) somewhat frightening things to happen.  NOW, I said before that I don't use oral contraception (or any form of hormonal birth control), simply because we want to ere on the side of caution. After I was challenged on this post (the one and only truly hateful comment I've gotten in three years of blogging), Peyton explained in great detail the mechanism of how these drugs work.  One of the ways is that it thins the uterine lining, which makes implantation of the fertilized egg unlikely.  This is theoretical; there is no way to say definitively it occurs or how often it occurs, but the package insert does warn against the possibility. We also know that some people believe that live begins at implantation, rather than fertilization.  In fact, Peyton has said all along that he thinks implantation makes more sense.  In this situation, though, we have chosen to as I said, ere on the side of caution.

That said, I don't think that we should legislate going this far.  We both would have preferred that the initiative use the word implantation instead of fertilization because by using fertilization questions have arisen about oral contraception, in vitro fertilization, and a host of other issues.  I don't have a problem saying that a woman should be legally obligated to carry a baby that is the product of rape to term, which I know some people have taken issue with (because I believe it's a human life and in my mind, there's just no exceptions for that....I know that sounds harsh to some but if you define a baby as a human you cannot make exceptions any more than I could make for a child Graves's age).  However, I do have a problem saying that birth control should be illegal.  That just goes too far into legislating morality to me.  Of course, we do legislate morality to some extent.  We have to.  But there's a line.

There's another issue here, too.  A pragmatic one.  I honestly believe that if Mississippi outlawed birth control there would be many, MANY more medical abortions.  Women would go to neighboring states to get them and in essence, we would have just created a worse problem.  So there's that.

It always cracks me up when people think Peyton is so liberal.  He is actually one of the most conservative people I know, in that he believes STRONGLY in limiting the government's powers.  He falls in line with some Libertarians more than many Republicans.  So I know he was conflicted from day one on this mainly because the ambiguous wording would give so much power to our state government.  However, the more he researched it, the more comfortable he felt that things like outlawing birth control would never come to fruition.  I think we both feel very confident in our YES vote!

So, SD asked me to add a bit about the other initiatives. There are two others: Initiative 26 and Initiative 31. Initiative 31 is to limit the powers allowed by eminent domain so that it can be used only for governmental purposes, nor for the government to turn over to private industry for economic development. This comes to issue when auto plants, for example, move into an area promising jobs. However, to build the plant land must be freed up to build it on. So the government (state) can presently take the land, give the owners fair market value for it, then turn it over to the private company for economic development. This is where the problem comes in. It seems fair for all concerned, but what if that land has been in a family since their relative was freed from slavery- it means very much to them. Also, what if it was the case that the family could have made more than market value for the land selling it to the private company? Or maybe the house is a shotty 5 bedroom house that has low market value, but the family would have trouble finding a similarly large house with the money they get from the state ( this happened to a family from my pharmacy)? For these reasons we will be voting for initiative 31, which will limit land taken by the government to only use for municipal projects for 10 years of it's purchase. I think it will be a positive step for the individual rather than the collective in our society.

Initiative 27 will require state issued photo id in order to vote in an election. We will likely support this amendment as well. The argument against it is that it alienates rural/poor voters who typically do not have identification, and is similar to poll taxes of past years in America. I'd disagree in that the state pays for the ID, and to be honest I cannot see how it won't cut down on fraud logically. If you have to have a photo ID to vote under another person's name, you'll obviously not as likely fraudulently vote since it's much more trouble to have many photo id's made than it is to say that you're another person just by knowing at which pole they vote. I do often worry about our society pushing off those who are on the edges of society, and sincerely do not want them to be hurt by a law such as this, but I feel that it's passage may help the security of our voting system more than it will hurt those who are vulnerable.

We always hope that in making big decisions like this we are thinking freely and being truly discerning in what is best for our society.


Allison said...

I think the hardest thing for me to see your perspective on is the belief that a rape victim should be legally required to carry her baby to term. I just think about the emotional toll that would take on someone -- a situation from which she might never recover. Who are we to tell someone that they have to go through this that is the result of physical & emotional abuse? It just seems cruel, to me.

Sarah Denley said...

Honestly, it's hard for me to see the perspective of my fellow pro-lifers who support this and other exception clauses. A life is a life. The way I define life, this is no different that infacide, as I alluded to in my post. Which is EXACTLY why I support Personhood. As an example, if a women were rapped carried her baby to term and then when she gave birth, saw that he much resembled his or her father and subsequently killed the child, would ANYONE think that was acceptable? I'm not asking you to say you think the two are synonymous, just to realize that by defining a fetus as life, it logically follows that they are.

Sarah Denley said...


Anonymous said...

I agree - a life is a life and who are we to make exceptions. And current statistics are that less than 1% of abortions performed are for victims of rape. So if that's the only reason for voting "no", then what do you say about the other 99% of abortions performed just because it was an unwanted pregnancy.

Clare Berlin said...

I think you gave a really great explanation of the controversy on 26. There are problems with 26, but like ya'll, I can't deny when life begins. I hate that the prop is ambiguous, but I think no matter, if it passes it will definitely be challenged. I also am voting YES on 26 today!

Mary Louis Quinn said...

I am prolife all the way, however to me it does not seem like 26 is the right answer. It seems WAY to vague and leaves too much room for questions about other issues (ectopic pregnancies, fertility treatments, etc). I, of course, no longer vote in MS, but I would have to vote no on this initiative. I am all for getting a great (sound) pro-life policy passed, but this one (to me) was not the right one.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog today I discovered it a little :) Your little ones are obviously gorgeous! How precious.
Then, I read this post, and thought I would comment. The beauty of the Western culture is that we can freely express our feeling and standpoints on such sensitive matters (and I feel so gretaful for it), so I shall do it. I'm from Europe, am not an English-speaking native, so please exuse any form of mistake in this comment ;) I'm trying to get better everyday, and that includes reading blogs!
I am pro choice, 100%. This may have to be linked to the fact that I'm not Christian (was raised one though), or any other religion for that matter, and that I'm a law student, and we learn that, in my country, a "baby" is considered a person recognized by the law at around 28 weeks of pregnancy. I truly believe so. I don't know if I could have an abortion, I probably couldn't, that is why my fiancé and I use the birth control pill, and feel very comfortable doing so. We don't want something to happen, because we are not ready, financially, and especially not emotionally!
I know my point of view may be controversial regarding the content of the article, but it is what it is, and thought I would share it.
(Oh, and I also wanted to add I completely respect Pro-life, and would never EVER judge someone on their opinions on the subject, or any controversial subject for that matter)