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Pro-Life Amendment Defeated in Pro-Life Mississippi

November 17th, 2011

by Steven W. Mosher

More than 80 percent of voters in Mississippi describe themselves as pro-life. Why then, did more than 55 percent vote against the so-called “personhood” amendment?

On November 8, the voters of what is arguably the most pro-life state in the union defeated a ballot initiative that would have declared life begins at fertilization. More than 80 percent of voters in Mississippi describe themselves as pro-life. Why then, did more than 55 percent vote against the so-called “personhood” amendment?

Now I supported the Personhood initiative. But the fact that it was defeated in Mississippi, the most pro-life of states, does not bode well for its passage anywhere else.

Planned Parenthood, which dumped a lot of money into the state, argued that the amendment would not only ban all abortions, but it would have also outlawed most forms of birth control, since the powerful steroid-based drugs involved act sometimes as abortifacients, that is to say, there is scientific evidence that they cause early term abortions.

Not only that, PPFA also claimed that it would ban in vitro fertilization, which often involves the destruction of “imperfect” embryos, and that it would prevent doctors from treating women who had ectopic, or tubal, pregnancies, even when necessary to save the woman’s life. In other words, Planned Parenthood resorted to its usual scare tactics and these, unfortunately, proved successful.

Then there were to divisions in our own ranks. The Baptists took a pro-life position, as always, while the Episcopalians and the Methodists have long been pro-abortion and were so here. The Catholic bishops were merely lukewarm, neither supporting nor opposing the amendment.

But I believe that there is another reason why the so-called “personhood” initiative fell so far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted. Supporters of the initiative said that they wanted to provoke a lawsuit to challenge the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion. So far, so good. If it had passed, it was virtually assured of drawing legal challenges that would have wound up before the Supreme Court.

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