Petition for another Mississippi personhood amendment underway - - Jackson, MS

Push for another Mississippi personhood amendment underway

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's round two in the push for a personhood amendment in Mississippi. There were signs and rallies for Initiative 26 back in 2011. It was defeated by 58 percent at the polls. 

But now there's a grassroots movement to get a similar measure back on the ballot. There are some changes but the overall goal remains the same. Personhood Mississippi wants the ballot initiative to say, "the right to life begins at conception".

They got the green light for this new initiative on May 14th. And they'll have exactly one year to get the necessary 108,000 signatures. They're hoping to get it on the 2015 ballot.

"We cannot give up on life. We cannot," said Tanya Britton who works with Pro-Life Mississippi.

The goal of the personhood amendment 2.0 is the same but some things have changed.

"Basically says that a child is a human being from conception and should be treated as a person until his or her natural death," said Britton.

It's now being billed as Initiative 41.

And some language has been cleared up in attempts to eliminate potential confusion. But opponents want it blocked before it ever hits a ballot.

"They don't respect Mississippi voters and the fact that Mississippi voters defeated Initiative 26," explained Whitney Barkley of the advocate group, No Means No Mississippi.

The group spoke out at an abortion rally Saturday to drum up support.

"I don't think that Mississippians can just sit on their laurels and say we defeated this once, we can defeat it again," Barkley said.

The group is responding with a petition of their own that they plan to have delivered to Personhood Mississippi. It currently has more than 1,600 signatures.

"In the states where personhood has tried again, they have failed in bigger margins than they did the first time," described Barkley.

Opponents believe a personhood amendment would affect access to in-vitro-fertilization, birth control and care for high-risk pregnancies. Supporters say that's not the goal.

"I think if people will step back from that and ask themselves one question is this a life or is it not a life?" said Tanya Britton.

Britton says the issue became too politicized.

"What you're asking is a human life worth it. And I say yes without a doubt, regardless of how difficult the battle becomes," explained Britton.

Some doctors joined in the fight against personhood before, claiming that such an amendment goes too far by allowing the government to interfere in personal medical decisions. They say that opposition won't change with the new language.

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