Mississippi Voters Reject Personhood Amendment By Wide Margin | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Mississippi Voters Reject Personhood Amendment By Wide Margin

In the end it wasn't even close. The Mississippi "personhood" amendment on Tuesday's ballot which would have legally defined human life as beginning at the moment of fertilization failed and by a very wide margin.

Mississippi voters soundly rejected the constitutional amendment, with 58 percent voting "no" and only 41 percent voting "yes."

The initiative's failure was seen as a monumental victory for supporters of abortion rights and a signal defeat for anti-Roe forces who seek to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld abortion rights.

Considered one of the nation's most conservative states Mississippi, many observers thought, would give the personhood amendment perhaps its best chance for passage anywhere in the U.S.

Initially, it looked like the gamble might pay off, with support for the initiative running so strong that passage at one point was virtually taken as a given.

But opponents of the proposed personhood amendment waged an aggressive counter campaign that raised all kinds of troubling prospects should the amendment become law.

For instance, they warned that the amendment raised the possibility that miscarriages would need to be investigated. Besides abortion, some birth control methods would become illegal, they said.

What's more, the personhood amendment threatened to criminalize doctors who provide in vitro fertilization services because many embryos are never successfully implanted but instead eventually destroyed.

As NPR's Julie Rovner reported for a Wednesday Morning Edition piece, supporters of so-called personhood amendments have now lost in Colorado as well as Mississippi.

JULIE: Voters in Colorado had twice rejected similar amendments to declare that life begins legally at fertilization, in 2008 and 2010...

... Felicia Brown Williams is outreach director for Mississippians for Healthy Families, the group that successfully fought the amendment. She said from her group's victory party last night that there was no single reason voters turned against the measure.

BROWN WILLIAMS: It was just a matter of making sure that the voters were informed; and when they were they came to our side.

JULIE: But this is likely not the last we'll hear from the personhood movement. Efforts are already underway to get similar constitutional amendments on the ballot in another half dozen states next year, and to pass personhood legislation in at least two more.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Gets Quizzed On Downhill Cheese Races

If you think downhill ski racing is dangerous, then you've never seen the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Races, in which competitors hurl their bodies down a steep hill, chasing a wheel of cheese.
NPR

Spread Of Palm Oil Production Into Africa Threatens Great Apes

Palm oil growers are setting their sights on Africa as they amp up production. More than half of the land that's been set aside for plantations in Africa overlaps with ape habitats, researchers say.
WAMU 88.5

Democrats Push To Overturn Hobby Lobby Ruling

Virginia's Tim Kaine and other Democrats are trying to overturn the ruling with legislation they say will protect female workers.
NPR

Friday Feline Fun: A Ranking Of The Most Famous Internet Cats

Forget the Forbes Celebrity 100. This is the Friskies 50 — the new definitive guide of the most influential cats on the Internet. The list is based on a measure of the cats' social media reach.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.