A woman who unsuccessfully tried to block the so-called “Personhood” initiative from appearing on Mississippi’s November ballot is defending her stance against the amendment, telling a Mississippi news station the proposed measure is unconstitutional and that “everyone should have an option.”
In July 2010, Cristen Hemmins was one of two women to file a lawsuit against Mississippi’s secretary of state in an effort to block Amendment 26 from appearing on the Mississippi ballot. Though supporters of the amendment say they only want to ban abortion, critics have argued that the initiative would have a host of unnecessary consequences, such as banning birth control and negatively affecting in vitro fertilization.
“The Mississippi state constitution says that you cannot change the constitution by ballot initiative,” Hemmins told station WJTV, later identifying herself as a rape victim who would have had “no options” had this initiative been in place when she had gotten pregnant.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Hemmins elaborated on her attack — saying she had been brutally raped by two men, who shot her when she tried to flee. One of the bullets pierced her uterus, leading her to be wary of complications that could arise from carrying a child or giving birth.
“Defining a ‘person’ as a fertilized egg is obviously going to affect every single law in Mississippi that has the word ‘person’ in it. That’s over 500 laws,” said Hemmins.
Though similar initiatives have so far failed in other states (including Florida), the Mississippi initiative has gained considerable steam, and is backed by several state lawmakers, as well as both candidates for attorney general.