Loretta Ross is a BAMF. I’ve posted about her before but I thought I should explicitly state that she is awesome.
Her article on Alternet (originally posted at RH Reality Check) about Mississippi’s Initiative 26 (so-called “Personhood amendment”) and 27 (Strict/ridiculous voter ID law) and the opportunity for intersectional organizing around these two initiatives was particularly enlightening. The alarming national and local trends we’ve been seeing for the past few months around attempts to further restrict reproductive rights and attempts to restrict access to voting are two things that I happen to be very passionate about and that I have been following in the news.
Quick rundown of the initiatives: I-26 will amend Mississippi’s constitution to establish legal personhood as the moment when an egg is fertilized. Not only is this a blatant attack on reproductive rights but it is biologically absurd. Even someone with a basic knowledge of how babies get made should realize that it is ridiculous to define personhood as beginning at fertilization. Most fertilized eggs never even become implanted in the uterine wall, meaning that even if someone does potentially become pregnant because a fertilized egg implanted in their uterus, there are countless fertilized eggs that didn’t implant at the same time. Also, the initiative would potentially criminalize miscarriages and the most popular forms of birth control, and prevent in-vitro fertilization. Several other states are considering or have already passed similarly restricting laws.
I-27 would require voters to show a government-issued ID in order to vote – something which has never before been required in Mississippi and which would restrict voters without this ID from voting. Needless to say (or perhaps not), these voters are primarily the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and folks of color. In other words, those who are already institutionally oppressed would now be further disenfranchised. Again, many other states have already passed or will be voting on similar legislation.
I really appreciated Loretta Ross’ insightful argument about how an intersectional campaign against both of these initiatives simultaneously may be the best way to defeat both while uniting groups and communities that might typically not engage with each other. It also made me consider just how many well-intentioned campaigns could benefit from a more intersectional approach. From her:
“In Mississippi, the proponents of the campaign on 26 are listening so that things are changing. Information linking 26 and 27 now appears on literature by the statewide campaign, Mississippians for Healthy Families (MHF). Forums in black churches are planned together by the leaders of the 26 and 27 initiatives in the week before the election, such as the NAACP working with MHF. The Feminist Majority Foundation sent campus organizers who immediately started organizing on both ballot measures distributing literature on both initiatives. The grassroots movement that Allison Korn from National Advocates for Pregnant Women spoke about in her earlier article on RH Reality Check is a strong testament. We must celebrate all sides coming together on the proverbial common ground.
These efforts to reach unity are welcome but come nearly at the goal line, if you will forgive the football analogy from a sports fan. How much more powerful and prepared could we have been together if we had recognized this incredible opportunity earlier?”
Word. Seriously though, one quote doesn’t do it justice. Read the whole thing.
Also, my favorite Nina Simone song (which Loretta mentions in her article) seems applicable here: