Mississippi voters soundly rejected the "Personhood" initiative Tuesday, sending a clear message that the measure was a step too far, even for a conservative, anti-abortion state. With 60 percent of precincts reporting late last night, the margin was 57 percent against, 43 percent in favor.
The measure would have defined a fertilized egg as a "person," which would have essentially banned abortion and some forms of birth control. Most doctors in Mississippi were opposed to the law, saying it would interfere with their ability to treat pregnant patients.
The initiative was pushed by a Colorado-based group, Personhood USA. Keith Mason, the group's founder, told the AP that he would keep up the fight in Mississippi, either through legislation or another ballot initiative.
The group is also trying to put referendums on 2012 ballots in Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada and California. Mason also said that the group plans to pursue "life-at-fertilization" legislation in 2012 in Alabama, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Let me say that if Mississippi voters rejected this amendment, it's pretty unlikely to pass anywhere else, with the exception of maybe Alabama. Mississippi was selected because it's conservative and the Personhood movement figured it was their best shot.
Way to go, Mississippi. I'm proud of y'all.
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...