Personhood proposal back in the spotlight - - Jackson, MS

Personhood proposal back in the spotlight

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippians could have another opportunity to vote on a measure similar to the personhood initiative, which was voted down last November.

"Initiative 26" as it was called, asked whether the term "person" should be defined at the time of conception. Now, if the legislature votes "yes," a similar measure could be back on ballots this November.

A new and controversial resolution filed by state Senator Joey Filingane seeks to "protect the life of every unborn child from conception to birth, to the extent permitted by the federal government." The resolution is similar to Amendment 26, with the fact that it simply seeks to define life beginning at the moment of fertilization.

"We ultimately decided that personhood was the wrong choice for Mississippi and the legislature seems to want to bring that back up against the will of the voters," said Atlee Breland.

Breland, the president of Parents against Personhood, campaigned heavily against Amendment 26, which she says could have restricted birth control and infertility treatments.

"The specific proposals that were made by yes on 26 make it very clear that they amount to an effective ban on IVF," said Breland.

Ashley Sigrest, a proponent of the new resolution and Amendment 26, disagrees.

"We want to make sure that IVF is done ethically, we do not want to stop it, we do not want to stop any woman from using any form of contraception as long as it doesn't kill an unborn child," said Sigrest.

The new resolution also seeks to ban public funds from being used for abortions, except to save a mother's life. It's something Sigrest agrees with because her goal is to make sure every unborn child is valued.

"Being a mother who has had an abortion in my past because I was raped that situation has lead me to be pro-life because I now realize I in fact took a life and that life was precious," said Sigrest.

Before Senator Filingane's resolution could actually make it onto the ballot, it would have to go through a number of committees and then be passed by a 2/3's majority of the House and the Senate.

Senator Filingane told the Associated Press that he doesn't expect his resolution to make it to the ballot in November. He says he filed it as a place holder in case other lawmakers want to move it forward. 

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