El Chanclaso: Reproductive Rights Up for Vote in Mississippi

11/06/2011 09:45 am ET | Updated Jan 06, 2012
  • El Chanclaso Sergio Lopez, political commentator for VotoLatino.Org

This Election Day, Mississippi voters will decide when life begins. Initiative 26 asks, "Should the term "person" be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?" It's the latest attempt to severely curtail women's reproductive rights.

Not only are voters being asked to define embryos as people, this amendment will also outlaw the most common types birth control and in vitro fertilization and will open the door for criminal investigation of miscarriages. Mississippi, already home to some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, will now make it nearly impossible for women and their doctors to make informed and sound decisions.

Initiative 26, if passed, will be one of the most damaging intrusions into women's reproductive health we've seen, even in a year marked by restrictive anti-choice bills. It will make it possible for mothers and doctors to be charged with murder if they have an abortion - even in the case of rape or incest. A number of forms of birth control could be considered murder.

A number of organizations are working on fighting Initiative 26, including the Mississippi Nurses Association, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Mississippi and the Mississippi State Medical Association.

Mississippi gets a chanclaso for putting curtailing reproductive rights on a ballot.

Chicken served with a side of intolerance

I'm the first to admit, Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches are the best sandwiches in the fast food industry. Their waffle fries are an absolute treat, but I can no longer dine at any of their establishments. Since 2009, Chick-Fil-A has donated over $2 million to anti-gay groups, including Focus on the Family, Exodus International, Family Research Council and other organizations whose main focus is to deny basic rights to our gay hermanos y hermanas in the name of family values.

Focus on the Family is constantly fanning the flames of fear and hate by warning families about a "homosexual agenda" that includes the indoctrination of their children. Exodus International's claim to shame is strongly advocating "ex-gay" therapy, the belief that people can change their sexual orientation. Needless to say, Exodus International does not have a high success rate and occasionally same-sex relationships develop at Exodus International's retreats. ¿Que esperaban?

For supporting intolerance, Chick-Fil-A gets a chanclaso.


Un aplauso to Tony La Russa for leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series title, defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2 in Game 7. La Russa, the Cardinals' manager, has more than 30 years of experience. He won the World Series three times in his career, once with the Oakland A's in 1989 and in 2006 with St. Louis. ¡Que buena vida!

El Chanclaso

For many Latinos, a chancla is more than summer footwear. The flip flops on our mothers' feet were also impromptu and easily accessed weapons. Back talk, ignoring orders or fighting with your siblings could, without warning, result in a chancla on the rear end or, if distance was a factor, flying at you.

Now we're all grown up. But some people still deserve chanclasos. And we're going to let them have it here in our weekly column, El Chanclaso. Every Friday, Sergio, our resident chancludo, will turn a critical eye on political shenanigans, and current issues and events with his chancla firmly in hand. Depending on the severity of the misbehavior, being on the wrong end of the chancla could get you one or two chanclasos. Sergio will also give aplausos to those who make us proud.You've been warned. Now, behave!

Sergio Lopez hails from the great city of San Antonio and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.  He thanks his mother for judiciously using her chancla to set him straight.

Know of someone who deserves a chanclaso or an aplauso? Send in your suggestions to