There are two ballot initiatives being voted on today that will give us an idea of the nation’s political mood one year out from next year’s elections. And both have far-reaching consequences. Here’s what you need to know. The Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Tomorrow Mississippians could vote to outlaw almost all abortions and some forms of birth-control. Here is how the text of the ballot initiative reads:
Should the term ‘person’ be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?
The text is very simple, but the consequences could be immense.
Not only would the Personhood Amendment outlaw all abortions, directly challenging Roe v. Wade, it might also outlaw certain drugs sold as birth-control that can act as abortifacients – that includes RU-486 and IUDs.The law would also require couples and their doctors to be responsible for maintaining the life of all embryos created during in vitro fertilization.
Longtime pro-life groups like National Right to Life and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are very wary of this Personhood amendment, fearing that if it comes before the Supreme Court, a pro-Roe majority will rule that unborn children are not legal persons. A ruling like that could could jeopardize some pf the success pro-lifers have had in restricting access to abortion over the past two decades through mandatory waiting periods and parantal notification laws.
Supporters of the Personhood Amendment have argued that the incremental approach of other pro-life groups is an insufficient response to the injustice of abortion. Instead they wish to confront Roe directly.
Polling has been against the personhood amendment passing, but as the campaign draws to a close things have gotten very tight. Public Policy Polls says that 45 per cent of voters now support it, 44 oppose it.
The Ohio Public Unions LawOver in Ohio, Governor John Kasich’s reforms to public-sector unions are coming to a popular vote, it’s called Senate Bill 5 (SB-5)
SB-5 would strip public sector unions of their ability to collectively bargain for their benefits, restricting them only to salary.
It would require all public employees to contribute 15 per cent to their health-insurnace premiums.
Unlike other states that have tried to reform public pensions, the Ohio measure law does not exempt police, firefighters, or teachers.
Proponents say the bill could save the state as much as $1.3 billion, mostly out of changes to scheduled pay-raises and the demand that public-sector employees contribute to their health premiums. Opponents say this will weaken Ohio’s middle-class.
This bill is being hotly watched by national conservative groups who believe that breaking the power of public unions will weaken Democrat political operations for a generation, while saving tax payers billions. Kasich has gone further out on the limb than New Jersey’s Chris Christie in taking on public-sector unions.
Polling on SB5 however suggests that Kasich is going to be harshly rebuked. Taxpayers may be angry at state spending, but they aren’t willing to balance the books by cutting benefits for firefighters.
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