Mississippi Voters Reject Pro-Life Personhood Amendment

By:  Dave Bohon
11/09/2011
       
Mississippi Voters Reject Pro-Life Personhood Amendment

Mississippi voters have rejected a proposed amendment to their state constitution that would have defined life as beginning at conception. While one major survey of voters taken just days before the vote found Initiative Measure 26 leading by a razor-thin 45-44 percent, LifeNews.com, a pro-life news site, reported late on November 8th that with 1,559 of the state’s 1,876 precincts counted, the amendment had failed by a lopsided 58 to 42 percentage. The personhood amendment, which is being heavily promoted in several states by a national group called Personhood USA, would define unborn children as persons under the law beginning at conception, a qualification that the amendment’s champions argue would effectively ban all abortions. But LifeNews pointed out that top pro-life attorneys and organizations predicted that the amendment would be shot down in court, and even if the amendment survived a legal challenge, it would most likely fail to put a stop to abortions. LifeNews noted that opposition from such groups as National Right to Life was based on the argument that the amendment “would not ban abortions and would perhaps give a pro-abortion dominated Supreme Court or lower courts a chance to reaffirm the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions in 1973.”

Mississippi voters have rejected a proposed amendment to their state constitution that would have defined life as beginning at conception. While one major survey of voters taken just days before the vote found Initiative Measure 26 leading by a razor-thin 45-44 percent, LifeNews.com, a pro-life news site, reported late on November 8th that with 1,559 of the state’s 1,876 precincts counted, the amendment had failed by a lopsided 58 to 42 percentage. The personhood amendment, which is being heavily promoted in several states by a national group called Personhood USA, would define unborn children as persons under the law beginning at conception, a qualification that the amendment’s champions argue would effectively ban all abortions. But LifeNews pointed out that top pro-life attorneys and organizations predicted that the amendment would be shot down in court, and even if the amendment survived a legal challenge, it would most likely fail to put a stop to abortions. LifeNews noted that opposition from such groups as National Right to Life was based on the argument that the amendment “would not ban abortions and would perhaps give a pro-abortion dominated Supreme Court or lower courts a chance to reaffirm the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions in 1973.”

Among the broadly conservative politicians who struggled with the proposed amendment was Republican Governor Haley Barbour, who maintained a week before the ballot that he was undecided on his support. “Some very strongly pro-life people have raised questions about the ambiguity and about the actual consequences,” he said, “whether there are unforeseen, unintended consequences. And I’ll have to say that I have heard those concerns and they give me some pause.” Nevertheless, reported LifeSiteNews, Barbour said that he ended up voting in favor of the amendment. “I think all in all, I know I believe life begins at conception. So I think the right thing to do was to vote for it,” he said.

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