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Mississippi Life Begins at the Moment of Fertilization Amendment, Initiative 26 (2011)

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Initiative 26
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Mississippi Constitution
Referred by:citizens
Topic:Abortion
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
A Life Begins at the Moment of Fertilization Amendment, also known as Initiative 26, appeared on the November 8, 2011 general election ballot in the state of Mississippi as an indirect initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.Defeatedd

The measure proposed adding language to the Mississippi Constitution that declared that life begins at "the moment of fertilization."[1]

On April 1, 2010 Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said his office certified 106,325 signatures, exceeding the minimum requirement of 89,285 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Currently, the state requires a 24-hour waiting period and counseling before all abortions and minors are required to have both parents' consent. The state has one abortion clinic.[2][3][2][4]

The original filing of Initiative 26 can be found here.

Aftermath

Supporters planned to take their intentions for a "personhood law" to the Mississippi Legislature during the 2012 state legislative session, despite the defeat at the polls during November 2011. Lawmakers in the state, according to reports, say that the measure could fare better in the legislature than it did when decided upon by the public.[5]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Mississippi Initiative 26
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No500,45957.63%
Yes 367,991 42.37%

Official results via the the Mississippi Secretary of State's office.

Text of measure

Title

The proposed measure, also known as Initiative 26, read:[6]

Should the term 'person' be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?

Summary

The official ballot summary of the measure read:

"Initiative #26 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word 'person' or 'persons', as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof."

Fiscal note

According to the Mississippi Legislative Budget Office's fiscal analysis:

There is no determinable cost or revenue impact associated with this initiative.[7]

Constitutional changes

The measure would have amended Article III of the Mississippi Constitution by adding a new Section 32 to read:[7]

SECTION 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.

Support

Supporters

The following were supporters of the measure:

Arguments

  • Jay Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pascagoula, said,"The Bible describes very clearly that we are people within the womb. To declare otherwise is to ignore what Scripture points out."[9]
  • Catholic Social and Community Services Inc. director Jennifer Williams supported the proposed measure and helped gather signatures to qualify it for the statewide ballot: "I think it is a big step for Mississippi to at least put this out on the table and let the people vote on it."[9]
  • According to Keith Mason of Personhood USA, when commenting on the appeal filed in the state supreme court by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU to block the initiative: "At every stage in different states they have sued to keep people [from] even gathering signatures. For instance, in Colorado they sued us all the way to the state Supreme Court and lost at every stage, even for us to gather signatures to place it on the ballot. And Colorado's a liberal state, so they didn't want to take any chances with personhood measures."[10]
  • Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour stated about the measure: "Some very strongly pro-life people have raised questions about the ambiguity and about the actual consequences - whether there are unforeseen consequences. They give me some pause. I believe life begins at conception. However, what's been put on the ballot is a little bit ambiguous." Barbour, however, voted for the measure.[8][11]
  • The American Life League was in favor the measure, according to a written statement. Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, stated: ."..using the specter of possible criminal penalty to scare Americans into voting against a proposed amendment that would do nothing more than recognize the human rights of persons prior to birth is not only ridiculous but misleading and deceptive."[12]
  • Steve Simpson, 2011 candidate for Mississippi Attorney General, stated his support: “By voting ‘Yes on 26’ this November, Mississippi voters have an opportunity to win a major battle in the fight for human life. While my opponent, Jim Hood, has refused to support this amendment and the fight for life, I will not only support the initiative now- I pledge to wholeheartedly defend it from any legal challenges that may arise after I’m elected Attorney General."[13]
  • Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced in mid-September 2011 that he supported the proposed measure. Hood made his announcement on his Facebook (later removed from his Facebook page) and Twitter profiles as well as his 2011 campaign website. The Facebook post said in part, "Support Personhood! I want to make my position very clear...As AG, I have defended every pro-life bill adopted by the MS Legislature....I am the ONLY candidate in this race with a clear and consistent record of defending Mississippi’s tough anti-abortion laws. I support the Personhood Amendment, and, if adopted, will defend it if challenged!"[14]
  • Hood's opponent for the position of Mississippi Attorney General in the November 2011 election, Steve Simpson, also stated support for the measure.[15]
  • The Christian Medical and Dental Associations stated about the measure: “The Christian Medical and Dental Associations recognize fertilization or ‘the functional equivalent thereof.’ Its purpose is to protect life, regardless of age, health, function, physical or mental dependency, or method of reproduction."[16]

Campaign advertisements

See: Mississippi Life Begins at the Moment of Fertilization Amendment, Initiative 26 television ads

Donors

The following donations were made to the campaign for the measure, run by Personhood Mississippi according to the monthly initiative reports on the Mississippi Secretary of State's website, as of May 2011.[17]

Donor Amount
Personhood Mississippi $48,637.83
Total $48,637.83

Tactics and strategies

  • As part of their campaigning in support of the measure, the group Missionaries to the Pre-Born began a "Personhood Tour," traveling throughout the state promoting the ballot initiative.[18]
  • Personhood Mississippi planned to kick off their campaign for the measure on September 8, 2011 at a banquet. According to reports, the keynote speaker at the event planned to be held in Jackson was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.[19]

Opposition

Opponents

The following were some of the main opponents of the measure:

Arguments

  • One of the main opponents of the proposed measure was Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Southeast's regional director of public policy Felicia Brown-Williams called the proposed measure "outrageous." Brown-Williams argued that Mississippi was one of the state's with the highest rates of teen pregnancies and infant mortality: "[The Amendment] does nothing to prevent unintended pregnancy or reduce the need for abortion. The people behind the personhood initiative do not care about preventing unintended pregnancies, or they would be working with Planned Parenthood to increase access to prevention initiatives like access to affordable birth control and sex education.."[9]
  • The Mississippi Section of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology was "strongly opposed" to 26, calling it the "law of unintended consequences."[28]
  • The Mississippi State Medical Association's statement on 26 says that they were unable to support it because "The common procedures we use now could be interpreted as murder or wrongful death if Proposal 26 passes. This justifiably will limit the physician's options and deter use of common lifesaving procedures."[29]
  • RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association opposed 26 on the grounds that it "undermines access to safe and reliable infertility medical treatments."[30]
  • Parents Against MS 26 was a grassroots group founded by a Jackson mother, Atlee Breland, who used infertility treatment. Their focus was discussion of the unintended consequences of Initiative 26 for access to IVF, birth control, and lifesaving pregnancy care. They were a registered political action committee under the name "Parents Against Personhood."
  • According to Clarion Ledger Editorial Director David Hampton, the initiative and referendum process brought up causes for concern. In a column, Ledger stated, "The idea of initiative and referendum has always worried me. It creates many more problems than it solves. It can result in some downright stupid and dangerous public policy." Later, Ledger commented on the three Mississippi initiatives that were certified for the ballot in 2011: Mississippians will be asked to vote on three initiatives this year, at least at this point. Two are being challenged in court and may or may not make the ballot in November. We'll see...In my opinion, not only are these items not needed, they actually can do some harm, especially the eminent domain and personhood amendments."[31]
  • In the brochure published by the Mississippi Secretary of State's office regarding the initiative, Lynn Evans, listed as a "Public Health Advocate" wrote the con argument, stating in part: "In the 33 years since the first in vitro baby, hundreds of Mississippi couples who just wanted a baby of their own have thanked medical science for in vitro fertilization [IVF]...Medicine defines a pregnancy as an implanted egg. If a fertilized egg in a petri dish were to be defined as a person by passage of the Personhood Amendment, it is very likely that IVF would no longer be an option in Mississippi."[7]
  • According to a column by Politicology writer Jonathan Moormann: "Still, even if we as a nation are still undecided on the issue of abortions and reproductive rights, laws such as Measure 26 are a step in the wrong direction. By taking such a broad swipe at the abortion issue, Measure 26 opens a Pandora's Box of potential legal complications. No one supporting Measure 26 is doing so because they want fetus citizenship, but that is the kind of question a poorly crafted law creates."[32]
  • According to a lengthy column by Ann Rose of Abortion Clinics OnLine, Rose argued that fertilized eggs were not people. She stated: ."..this initiative is the first step in a plan by Personhood USA to overturn Roe V Wade and end all abortion in this country. The impact goes further than shutting down clinics. This amendment could literally imprison women in addition to imprisoning women in their own bodies."[33]
  • Allison Korn of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women wrote in a column about grassroots opposition to the measure: "No matter what happens on November 8, it is important to recognize the growing grassroots movement in opposition to Proposition 26. These Southern, home-grown leaders and activists will still be in Mississippi beyond election day, and we must not only recognize them but also encourage and support them if we ever hope to win the long-term struggle for reproductive justice."[34]
  • Bernard Siegle, spokesperson of the Stem Cell Action Coalition, stated in a press release: “Microscopic cells in a lab dish, that by a couples’ decision, will never be implanted in a womb, should not be defined as ‘people’. If Mississippi aspires to become a center for biomedical research and biotechnology, then Initiative 26 surely sends the wrong message to the world.”[35]

Campaign advertisements

See: Mississippi Life Begins at the Moment of Fertilization Amendment, Initiative 26 television ads

Donors

Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $48,637.83
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $5,407.84
Donor Amount
Parents Against Personhood $5,407.84
Total $5,407.84

Tactics and strategies

  • At the University of Southern Mississippi on March 31, 2011, Planned Parenthood rode into campus on a pink bus with statistics about their services, hoping to counter the campaign that was in support of the measure, which had visited the campus days just days before.[18]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Mississippi ballot measures, 2011

Opposition

  • The Clarion-Ledger wrote in an editorial about the measure: ."..it will drive up the costs of Medicaid, Medicare, health insurance, medical malpractice insurance - all of which are already heavy taxpayer burdens. Does Mississippi want to be the state with the most draconian anti-abortion laws regardless of all this? Citizens should vote "no.""[36]
  • The Enterprise-Journal commented in an editorial: "The debate over Amendment 26 in the medical community almost certainly will not affect the outcome of the Nov. 8 referendum. It’s going to be approved. The idea of banning or strictly limiting abortion is generally good. However, as the doctors’ concerns indicate, the issue simply is not as black-and-white as it seems."[37]
  • The New York Times issued an editorial opinion opposing Initiative 26, stating: "This extreme measure would protect zygotes at the expense of all women while creating a legal quagmire — at least until the courts rule it unconstitutional, as they should."[38]

Polls

Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

See also: Polls, 2011 ballot measures

Public Policy Polling released poll numbers on November 7 that showed the "yes" side with a very slight edge going into the November 8 election. The poll was taken of 796 voters between November 4-6.[39]

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
November 4-6, 2011 Public Policy Polling 45% 44% 11% 796

Vandalism controversies

  • Vandalism was reported to have occurred, with the target being campaign signs for the "Yes on 26" campaign. According to Les Riles of Personhood Mississippi: "They put up a large personhood sign up at a business in downtown Brookhaven and a lady came in broad open daylight and tore the sign over and defaced it. The police came, and she told them she was just exercising her free-speech rights." But Riley points out that free speech does not include the destruction of private property."[40]
  • Other incidents included a sign being knocked over at a church in Jackson, and one about a woman on Facebook who "openly bragged" about stealing "Yes on 26" signs she saw in the northern part of the state.[40]

Lawsuit

2011 measure lawsuits
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Initiative process

On February 2, 2010 Personhood Mississippi filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jim Hood and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. The lawsuit was filed as an attempt to clarify the state laws governing the initiative process. Stephen Crampton, Personhood Mississippi attorney, believed that state law allowed for a full year to gather signatures. However, according to a Mississippi Attorney General 1996 opinion signatures must be certified and turned in by the one year deadline. Crampton said that he wanted the federal court to weigh in on the issue because signature verification by circuit clerks can take months and could potentially change the "signature deadline" for the group.[41][42]

Sen. Joey Fillingane, who was active in trying to get the Mississippi Voter Identification Petition on the ballot said it took months for the circuit clerks to certify the signatures. Fillingane added that had they missed the filing deadline, they too would be making the same argument. The process, he said, was "difficult" and an "overwhelming chore. You're at the mercy of the 82 circuit clerks."[43]

Lawsuit to block initiative

On July 15, 2010 Jackson Attorney Robert McDuff filed a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi on behalf of two Lafayette County residents (Deborah Hughes and Cristen Hemmins).[44][45]

In a statement, McDuff said, "This lawsuit is brought to preserve Mississippi's Bill of Rights. This Initiative specifically attempts to modify the Mississippi Bill of Rights by changing the word "person" to include a fertilized egg. Like the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, the Mississippi constitution states that 'the initiative process shall not be used...for the proposal, modification or repeal of any portion of the bill of rights of this constitution.'" McDuff argued that the change could lead to government interference in the doctor-patient relationship and could have lead to numerous lawsuits against physicians. Steve Crampton, an attorney for the Liberty Counsel who helped circulate petitions for the proposed measure, said the McDuffs arguments were "speculative."[46][44]

In response to the lawsuit, Personhood Mississippi's Les Riley, the sponsor of the amendment, said, "This is clearly a preposterous lawsuit, intended to interfere with Mississippi citizens’ right to vote, and to protect Planned Parenthood’s abortion cash cow. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are seeking to protect Planned Parenthood’s one billion dollar a year profit, while Mississippi voters are seeking to protect innocent life. We intend to fight this suit, defending our rights as Mississippi voters and the most basic right of preborn children, the right to life."[47]

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, the defendant in the case, said he supported the proposed amendment. In reaction to the lawsuit, Hosemann said, "I believe Mississippians do have the right to amend their laws and the constitution by the initiative process followed by an open vote of the electorate. I think that’s what the Legislature intended." Attorney General Jim Hood is scheduled to defend the state in the lawsuit.[46]

On October 26, 2010 a Hinds County judge cleared the measure for the 2011 ballot. Judge Malcolm Harrison ruled that the initiative should appear on the ballot because supporters collected the required signatures and the constitution recognizes the right of citizens to change the state constitution.[48][49]

During late April 2011, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court against the measure, hoping to strike the proposed amendment from the ballot.[50]

According to Keith Mason, of Personhood USA, about the appeal: "Of course we expect Planned Parenthood and the ACLU to continue their unholy alliance in attacking personhood bills and amendments. They are terrified that abortion will be made illegal. Planned Parenthood, with the help of the ACLU, is fighting for their ‘right’ to kill children for profit.”[51]

Ruling

In early September 2011, the Mississippi Supreme Court denied the request to remove the measure from the ballot. In a court ruling, the high court stated: "Just as this Court cannot prohibit legislators from offering proposals in the House or Senate, this Court cannot impede voters from submitting proposals through the voter initiative process."

Mason claimed after the ruling: "We believed that the Court would uphold the rights of Mississippi voters, and we are thankful that they have done so. Mississippians volunteered thousands of hours of their time to ensure that voters would have the right to vote on this prolife amendment, and their voices should be heard. Amendment 26 sends a prolife message to the rest of the United States -- babies in the womb are people, and have the right to live."[52]

According to Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an ACLU attorney on the case: "We didn't lose on the merits of the case, but what's disappointing is that it means the measure does go on the ballot that could later be held unconstitutional."[53]

Abortion on the ballot in 2011
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Alleged initiative violations

According to February 2010 reports, the Mississippi Personhood Amendment reportedly violated state initiative rules. According to the Mississippi Constitution, the Bill of Rights can not be modified by voter referendum. Despite the measure being approved for circulation by the attorney general, Mississippi attorney general spokesperson Jan Schaefer stated, "The certificate of review issued by the AG does not constitute an endorsement of the Constitutional, statutory or substantive validity of the proposed initiative."[54]

Despite the allegations, the measure continued to circulate and was certified for the 2011 ballot by the secretary of state on April 1, 2010 after 106,325 signatures were validated.

Path to the ballot

See also: Mississippi signature requirements

Initiative filing

See also: Beginning the initiative process in Mississippi

When introducing a citizen-initiated ballot measure in the state, the first step is to file a typewritten copy of the proposed initiative with the Mississippi Secretary of State. The sponsor has the authority to accept or reject any of the recommendations from the Revisor of the Statutes, who receives the initiative from the secretary. The Attorney General will then draft the ballot title (not exceeding 20 words) and the ballot summary (not exceeding 75 words). The Attorney General will file both the title and summary with the Secretary of State, who will then notify the sponsor by certified mail of the exact language in the ballot title and summary. Once the ballot title and ballot summary have been finalized, the sponsor may begin collecting signatures.

Circulation

See also: Signature requirements in Mississippi

To qualify for the ballot, its supporters must have garnered about 89,284 valid signatures. According to Mississippi law, the number of signatures collected must be greater than 12% of the total number of votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial general election.

Mississippi has a distribution requirement: 20% from each of the five congressional districts. According to Section 273, Paragraph (3) of the Mississippi Constitution, "The signatures of the qualified electors from any congressional district shall not exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of signatures required to qualify an initiative petition for placement upon the ballot. If an initiative petition contains signatures from a single congressional district which exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of required signatures, the excess number of signatures from that congressional district shall not be considered by the Secretary of State in determining whether the petition qualifies for placement on the ballot."

Signature filing and verification

See also: Signature filing deadlines in Mississippi

On February 4th, the group said they had collected more than 85,000 signatures and were "on track to have enough registered voters signed up." On February 16 supporters filed approximately 105,167 signatures certified as valid by 82 different County Circuit Clerks and collected a grand total of 130,000 signatures.[55][56]

On April 1, 2010 Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said his office certified 106,325 signatures, exceeding the minimum requirement of 89,285 signatures to qualify for the ballot. The measure was referred to state lawmakers who had the option to draft a competing proposal.[9][57][58][59]

Legislative review

See also: Mississippi Legislature's response to certified initiatives

The measure was an indirect initiated constitutional amendment, which meant that it was proposed by citizens through initiative and did not go immediately to the ballot after a successful petition drive to collect sufficient valid signatures. Rather, once the signatures were collected, the amendment that the citizens proposed must first be submitted to the state legislature for consideration. Only after the state legislature considered and possibly also taken a limited range of options that may affect the amendment does it go on the statewide ballot for consideration by the voters. The measure was placed on the ballot.

Timeline

Calendar.png

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Lawsuit filed Feb. 2, 2010 Personhood Mississippi filed a lawsuit against Attorney General and Secretary of State to clarify initiative laws.
Signatures collection Feb. 4, 2010 Group stated they had collected about 85,000 signatures.
Signatures submission Feb. 16, 2010 Supporters filed approximately 105,000 signatures.
Certification Apr. 1, 2010 Mississippi Secretary of State certified initiative for ballot after validating signatures.
Lawsuit filed July 15, 2010 Jackson Attorney Robert McDuff filed a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi to block the initiative.
Ruling on lawsuit Oct. 26, 2010 Judge ruled that the initiative should appear on the ballot because supporters collected required signatures.
Legislative review Feb. 4, 2011 Initiative presented to Legislature for review.

Similar measures

See also: Abortion-related measures that did not make a statewide ballot

The following measures were either on or proposed for past statewide ballots:

See also

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External links

Additional reading

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Jackson Clarion-Ledger, "Lt. Gov. Bryant leads anti-abortion effort," January 17, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Clarion Ledger,"Abortion issue on 2011 ballot," April 2, 2010
  3. Independent Political Report,"Mississippi Personhood Amendment Makes Ballot, Has Constitution Party Ties," May 24, 2010
  4. The Underground,"Mississippi is fourteenth state to forge 'Personhood Amendment'," May 4, 2010
  5. Florida Independent, "Personhood Mississippi supporters hope to work with state Legislature," January 4, 2012
  6. Mississippi Secretary of State, "Sample Official Election Ballot," accessed September 19, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Secretary of State, "Initiative #26 Brocure," accessed August 18, 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 Clarion Ledger, "Initiative 'ambiguous': Life at fertilization concerns governor," November 2, 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Sun Herald,"State will vote on abortion amendment," April 1, 2010
  10. One News Now, "Planned Parenthood 'scared' of personhood," April 27, 2011
  11. Washington Post, "Mississippi Gov. Barbour votes for life-at-fertilization initiative after expressing concerns," November 3, 2011
  12. Florida Independent, "American Life League defends Mississippi ‘Personhood’ Amendment," August 22, 2011
  13. Majorityinms.com, "Personhood Will Be On The Ballot," September 8, 2011
  14. The Florida Independent,"Personhood Mississippi picks up attorney general’s endorsement," September 19, 2011
  15. Sun Herald, "Hood, Simpson sound off on ballot initiatives," October 8, 2011
  16. Christian Post, "Christian Medical Groups Weigh in on Mississippi Personhood Measure," September 24, 2011
  17. Mississippi Secretary of State, "Search Box for Campaign Contributions," accessed May 11, 2011
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Peoples World, "“Missionaries” and Planned Parenthood spar on campus," April 5, 2011
  19. RH Reality Check, "Huckabee Keynote for Personhood Mississippi Event," August 29, 2011
  20. Mississippi State Medical Association, "Nov. 8 Voters Asked to Define Life at Fertilization," accessed October 17, 2011
  21. "MNA's Resolution to Oppose Initiative #26 on the November Ballot," accessed October 28, 2011
  22. Resolve.org, "Mississippi Initiative 26," accessed October 17, 2011
  23. Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, "Bishop's Statement on Proposition #26," accessed October 28, 2011
  24. "Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice - NO on 26!!!, Retrieved October 28, 2011
  25. "MSCCD Urges voters to oppose Initiative #26," accessed October 28, 2011
  26. "NAPW's How Mississippi's Prop 26 Can Hurt ALL Pregnant Women," accessed October 28, 2011
  27. "Radio ad featuring Derrick Johnson NAACP," accessed October 31, 2011
  28. Constant Contact, "Opposition to Initiative 26," accessed October 17, 2011
  29. Mississippi State Medical Association, "Nov. 8 Voters Asked to Define Life at Fertilization," accessed October 17, 2011
  30. Resolve.org, "Mississippi Initiative 26," accessed October 17, 2011
  31. Clarion Ledger, "Miss. ballot initiatives are cause for concern," June 10, 2011
  32. Ology.com, "Mississippi's Proposed "Personhood" Law Threatens Abortion, Birth Control," September 13, 2011
  33. RH Reality Check, "Fertilized Eggs Are NOT People!," October 8, 2011
  34. RHReality Check, "Grassroots Opposition Grows to Mississippi's Prop 26, the Egg-as-Person Initiative," October 25, 2011
  35. Florida Independent, "Stem Cell Action Coalition calls for Mississippi voters to reject ‘Personhood’ Amendment," October 27, 2011
  36. Clarion Ledger, "Personhood: Initiative bad policy," October 14, 2011
  37. The Sun Herald, "Personhood amendment ‘is bad for the practice of medicine’," October 16, 2011
  38. "The New York Times," "The Personhood Initiative," accessed October 28, 2011
  39. Public Policy Polling, "Toss Up on Mississippi ‘Personhood’ Amendment," November 7, 2011
  40. 40.0 40.1 One News Now, "No to 26, yes to vandalism," October 18, 2011
  41. Associated Press,"Mississippi anti-abortion initiative could go to federal court today," February 2, 2010
  42. Personhood Mississippi,"Personhood Mississippi Files Lawsuit for Historic Ballot Access Initiative," February 2, 2010
  43. Associated Press,"Lawsuit filed in Miss. 'Personhood' initiative," February 2, 2010
  44. 44.0 44.1 WLBT,"Lawsuit filed against state targets "Personhood" initiative," July 15, 2010
  45. One News Now,"Vote on 'personhood' faces challenge," June 19, 2010
  46. 46.0 46.1 Associated Press,"Suit seeks to block Miss. ‘personhood’ initiative," July 16, 2010
  47. MarorityinMS.com,"Personhood Miss. Responds To Lawsuit," July 16, 2010
  48. WJTV,"Controversial Anti-Abortion Initiative On Next Year’s Ballot," October 26, 2010
  49. Clarion Ledger,"Judge OKs Mississippi anti-abortion initiative for '11 ballots," October 26, 2010
  50. Christian Newswire, "Planned Parenthood Ignores Fetal Pain; Goes After Personhood Amendments," April 21, 2011
  51. Florida Independent, "Legal challenge to Mississippi ‘Personhood’ amendment maybe headed to state Supreme Court," April 22, 2011
  52. Earned Media, "Mississippi Personhood Amendment Wins Supreme Court Battle Against Planned Parenthood and ACLU," September 8, 2011
  53. IBTimes.com, "Mississippi Court Clears Referendum that Would Ban All Abortions," September 13, 2011
  54. RH Reality Check,"Mississippi 'Personhood' Ballot Violates Rules," February 8, 2010
  55. Associated Press,"'Personhood' initiative filed," February 17, 2010
  56. Clarion Ledger,"'Life' definition petitioned," February 17, 2010
  57. One News Now,"Personhood earns spot on 2011 ballot in MS," February 24, 2010
  58. Associated Press,"Lawsuit filed by fetus rights group," February 4, 2010
  59. One News Now,"States gain support in 'personhood' battle," February 16, 2010