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Victory in Mississippi: What Are the Next Steps?

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Yesterday, Mississippi voters decisively rejected Initiative 26, the extreme "personhood" measure.

Initiative 26 would have banned abortion care without exception: even in cases of rape or incest, and even when a woman's life or health is in danger.

It could also have outlawed in vitro fertilization and most types of birth control. 

Hats off to the coalition of faith leaders, reproductive-justice and pro-choice allies, and other Mississippi-based groups that, in the face of a tough environment, successfully convinced their neighbors to reject this dangerous and far-reaching measure.

The New York Times' reports on Initiative 26 included this quote from Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Here's her complete statement:

We salute the voters in Mississippi who stood up for the fundamental American values of freedom and privacy. We especially applaud those women and men who volunteered in their communities to tell their neighbors about Initiative 26's intrusion into the private medical decisions of women in Mississippi.   

The message from Mississippi is clear: An amendment that allows politicians to further interfere in our personal, private medical decisions, including a woman's right to choose safe, legal abortion, is unacceptable. We will build on the momentum in Mississippi to fight similar attacks on choice that will be on state ballots in 2012.

Indeed, our work is only beginning.

The anti-choice groups behind Initiative 26 are pushing similar ballot measures for 2012 in California, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada.

In 2012, Montana voters will also face a parental-involvement measure that jeopardizes the health and safety of young women who, for fear of violence or in cases of incest, cannot turn to their parents.

In California, anti-choice forces are collecting signatures for ballot measures that also would impose a dangerous parental-involvement mandate and mandatory 48-hour delay on young women who seek abortion care.

And in Massachusetts, anti-choice groups are pushing for a voter referendum that would ban insurance coverage of abortion care.

It's all part of the War on Women you might not have heard of yet.

Our nation's pro-choice majority will respond in these states with the same force and determination that we brought in Mississippi.

In the run-up to the Mississippi vote, NARAL Pro-Choice America mobilized its 1,000 member activists in the state.

Over three nights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, along with our coalition partners, contacted more than 3,000 voters in the Magnolia State.

We ran Google ads educating voters that were seen nearly 7,000 times by people in Mississippi .

We also launched a nationwide public-education campaign through our 500,000-strong email list, and, thanks to donations of our generous supporters, helped Mississippians for Healthy Families run targeted ad buys. And nearly 1,000 of our Facebook fans proudly stood by the women of Mississippi by sharing our image macro.

Together, we started a conversation around our shared values and our belief that a woman and her doctor--not politicians--should make personal, private medical decisions. This conversation led to the defeat of a radical, anti-choice measure in one of the most conservative states in the Union.

We must continue this conversation with our friends, neighbors, and family-members to defeat the onslaught of anti-choice attacks coming onto the ballot in 2012. Leave a comment to let us know what you think about last night's victory, or join in the conversation happening on our Facebook page.

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