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Mississippi "Personhood" Amendment (2015)

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The Mississippi "Personhood" Amendment may appear on the November 3, 2015 ballot as an indirect initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would amend the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception and all human beings as "created in the image of God."[1]

This is the second attempt by Personhood Mississippi to pass such as amendment. Initiative 26 was defeated in 2011 with 57.64% of Mississippians voting agains the measure.

The measure was filed by Ann Reed of Personhood Mississippi.[2]

Support

Supporters

  • Personhood Mississippi

Arguments

  • Anne Reed, spokeswoman for Personhood Mississippi, argued, "For those of us who might ask the question, 'Well, what about this and what about that?' if we're talking about exceptions, my question is, 'When is it alright to kill an innocent human being?' My answer to that is, 'It's never alright."[3]
  • Dr. Clifton W. Story, executive director of University Health Services at Mississippi State, said, “I believe we're created by God. I think God is the one that initiates all that," Story said. "When the sperm and egg come together almost immediately, or within a few days anyway, the chromosomes that make up who we are and who we become are established.”

Opposition

Opponents

  • Parents Against Personhood[3]

Arguments

  • Atlee Breland, founder of Parents Against Personhood, argued, “When you say that (an embryo or zygote) is a person with a right to life, you can't do things that might potentially damage or injure that embryo's right to life. Even if you're otherwise doing them for a good cause. There's no way out of this conundrum that makes IVF [in vitro fertilization] possible under Personhood."[3]
  • Dr. Randall Hines of Mississippi Reproductive Medicine said, "Courts and legislative bodies don't really play a role and should not play a role in (medical decision making). Patients should have autonomy, and doctors should practice medicine based on science, not based on some ill-conceived notion somebody has."
  • Jonelle Husain, a sociology instructor at Mississippi State University, noted, "Those claims, that abortion causes trauma that is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, are not just without basis in the scientific literature, but all the major medical associations in the U.S. vehemently disputed those claims. There is just no data to support it... Only a very small number of women [the 1.2 million abortions in 2005] in that group claim to suffer negative effects, which raises questions about the legitimacy of these claims."

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Mississippi

The measure was approved for circulation on May 14, 2013. In Mississippi, an initiative can be circulated for one year before becoming invalid. Therefore, proponents have until May 14, 2014 to collect the required 107,216 valid signatures. If signatures are collected and verified by this date, then the initiative will appear on the 2015 ballot.

Similar measures

See also

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References