There are many stories out there of brave women and their families who had tragic, heartbreaking and inspirational experiences that could had been seriously affected if amendment 26 was in place. My story is simple and not nearly as tragic, heartbreaking or inspirational.
Before I had my son, I had two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. With my first pregnancy I was 9 weeks when I saw the doctor. Instead of a 9 week fetus there were 2 yolk sacs and no heartbeat. My physician, wonderful and one of the most optimistic people I have ever meet, said maybe I wasn’t as far along as I thought and we would monitor my hCG levels. However I was having problems and knew something wasn’t right. So when my hCG levels dropped and I was diagnosed with a miscarriage I was not surprised.
My second pregnancy followed a similar pattern. I began having similar symptoms and suspected another miscarriage. At my doctor visit at 6 weeks a heartbeat was detected on the sonogram, but it was very slow. We monitored my hCG levels and they were falling, so I was diagnosed with a second miscarriage.
In each case my physician presented me with 3 options: allow the miscarriage to proceed naturally which can take days to weeks, have a D&C performed or have a medication administered that would facilitate the miscarriage. In both cases I chose treatment with the medicine. I wanted to get through the experience and begin the healing process and I had no desire to undergo a surgical event if it was not completely necessary. In both cases the medicine worked and within a couple days I had completed the miscarriage.
After my second miscarriage I was referred to Dr. Randall Hines to begin testing to try to determine if there was a reason for the miscarriages. Surprisingly I discovered I was pregnant before much testing was conducted. Dr. Hines managed my pregnancy for several weeks before I returned to seeing my physician. Thankfully I had a healthy pregnancy with no complications. I now have an amazing, beautiful 21 month old son and we are expecting our second child April. I was fortunate not need Dr. Hines’s assistance to have a child, but my experience working with him gave me a great respect for him as a physician and a person. He has publicly spoken out against 26 and his concerns on how it will affect the treatment of infertility.
A miscarriage is an emotional event for a woman and her family to go through. I was lucky to have an amazing, caring physician to help me make a decision that was best for me and a wonderful, supportive husband and family. If amendment 26 passes how will this affect the treatment of miscarriage? If my failing pregnancy had full rights of personhood, would I have had to wait out the miscarriage and suffer through unnecessary physical and emotional distress?
I have read every bit of information I can find on this amendment. I have read information from the supporting side as well as the opposition. I have yet to hear any logical information addressing the many concerns raised. Instead of providing answers, I have seen supporters of this amendment personally attack oppossers (who they obviously don’t know) and accuse the opposition of using scare tactics. From the opposition I have only seen legitimate questions that are not being answered. And the truth is that the supporters of 26 cannot answer the questions. There is no way because the amendment is simply a modification to the MS Constitution granting personhood and all the rights implied at the moment of fertilization. It will be left the MS legislature and judical system to inact laws to protect the rights of unborn persons.
Will every miscarriage be investigated? I hope not. The thought seems absurd. But what about an expectant mother who continues to smoke? What about an expectant mother who drinks caffeine? Both are know to increase the risk of miscarriage. Would a miscarriage then be considered manslaughter if an expectant mother engaged behavior known to increase risk? And if so then wouldn’t every miscarriage require an investigation?
It is known that IVF will be affected if 26 is passed. Birth control will be affected. Personhood USA has admitted to this. Personally I believe if passed that this will create numerous legal battles that will clog our court system and cost our state money we don’t have.
The implications are just too broad. I believe that every woman should have access to the birth control that is best for her and her family. I believe that every woman should be able to make health care decision with her physician that are best for her and her family. I believe that every couple who needs assistance with conceiving should be have access to assistance. I believe that every woman should have access to an abortion when she needs it for her physical, mental and/or emotional health.
I don’t believe in telling people what they should believe or how they should vote, but I implore everyone to please educate yourself before you vote. Make sure that you understand what amendment 26 says. I have heard that even if passed this amendment will not get past the courts. I hope that is true. But even more I hope that the people of Mississippi will show on November 8th that we are an educated people who can look logically at this amendment and say “No thank you”.