Miss. judge mulls arguments on 'personhood' issue - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Miss. judge mulls arguments on 'personhood' issue

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, Miss. - The debate continued over "Personhood" at the Hinds County Courthouse on Thursday. It's the controversial issue that would define a person as having basic human rights at the moment of conception.

Supporters led an initiative to obtain enough signatures to present to the Secretary of State's Office to place on the Nov. 2011 ballot.

However, opponents say changing the state's Bill of Rights is "unconstitutional."

"The people who wrote the constitution made clear when it comes to the bill of rights and that's really what this argument is all about," said Prosecuting Attorney, Cliff Johnson.

Orchestrator of Personhood, Les Riley says the issue goes beyond the constitutionality of the state Bill of Rights and it's an issue of "human" rights.

"The courts have been used wrongly to deny the right to unborn children for 40 years." Riley continued, "And now they're attempting to use the courts to deny the rights of Mississippians in the process."

Attorney Johnson says this case is matter of arguing the proper use of the law.

 "I respect those convictions, those emotions. But for us this is a case about simply applying the clear language of the law and the proper use of the initiative system."

After both parties presented their sides of the argument, the Hinds Co. court says Circuit Judge Malcolm Harrison could take several days to make a decision.

Regardless of the decision made, both parties say they plan to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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