‘Personhood Amendment’ Defeated In Mississippi, But Supporters Not Giving Up

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Mississippi voters yesterday rejected the state’s “Personhood Amendment” – also known as Initiative 26 – which declares that life begins at fertilization and that an embryo should have the same rights as a human being (that would make abortion illegal and it would also deny women the right to IVF treatment as well as birth control such as the morning-after pill and IUDs). More than 55% voted against it – but that hasn’t stopped supporters from fighting for change.

In fact, abortion opponents announced today that they’re still pursuing “personhood” initiatives in six other states. Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA – the main force behind the Mississippi proposal – said his group is trying to put initiatives on 2012 ballots in Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada and California. He also said they may revive efforts for another ballot initiative in Mississippi.

I, for one, am relieved that voters rejected the initiative, which takes away a woman’s human rights. Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the initiatives represent an “extreme, dangerous and direct assault” on abortion rights – and I couldn’t agree more.

It’s astounding to me that anyone would impose his or her personal beliefs on an entire nation and deny women the right not only to abortions – just imagine the victims of incest or rape – but also to birth control and fertility treatment in general. It’s mind-blowing, really.

Even Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is staunchly pro-life, began to express concerns over the initiative, which is about so much more than just abortion. Again, it’s about a woman’s basic human rights.