Mississippi Voters Defeat 'Personhood' Amendment
The controversial "Personhood" amendment, which would have defined life as beginning at conception and banned abortions statewide, was rejected by voters in Mississippi on Tuesday by a vote of 55 to 45 percent, the Christian Post reports. Supporters of the amendment wanted to use Mississippi as a test case and knew a victory would send "shockwaves" through the nation; however, opponents of the amendment, including some pro-life advocates who were uncomfortable with its wording, said they would have legally challenged it had it passed. "Some very strongly pro-life people have raised questions about the ambiguity and ... whether there are unforeseen, unintended consequences," said outgoing Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, who voted for the amendment while expressing concern about how it might be legally interpreted. Churches also took sides on the issue; the Mississippi Baptist Convention supported the measure while the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and the United Methodist Church General Conference opposed it. Mississippi's current laws governing abortion are comparatively stricter than other states, requiring parental consent for a minor, mandatory in-person counseling and a 24-hour waiting period for any woman seeking an abortion. Personhood USA, the Colorado-based group behind the effort, is attempting to get similar initiatives on the ballots in Montana, Ohio, Florida and Oregon.