Immediately after voters in Mississippi, the most conservative state in the nation, rejected the proposed "personhood amendment," anti-abortion advocates vowed to continue their fight in other states across the country. It seemed like a fairly idiotic move, but then we're talking about people who insist the proposed laws would only ban abortion, but not potentially zygote-destroying birth control, fertility procedures, or necessary medical interventions, simply because they say so. Now personhood advocates are refusing to take "no" for an answer even from Mississippians, and are trying to push the measure through the state legislature. It's about as ridiculous as asking your girlfriend's father for permission to marry her after she's already turned down your proposal on national TV — and the most absurd part is that it might work.
In November, people in Mississippi rejected Initiative 26 with 58 percent of the vote. Now Personhood Mississippi leader Les Riley tells USA Today, that the group plans to "work with the Legislature and reach out to Mississippians." Of course, the group already reached out to people in the state with a highly-publicized campaign, but voters had too much regard for their own reproductive rights. Fortunately for personhood advocates, many state legislators don't have this problem. More than 60 lawmakers, mostly Republicans, signed a pledge supporting Initiative 26, and Governor-elect Phil Bryant says he'd "be very surprised if a member of the Legislature didn't introduce some legislation similar to that," in the coming months.
Riley claims that pushing the amendment through the legislature is "the right thing to do morally and strategically," but he's wrong on both counts. While he and other personhood advocates say passing the law would finally give the Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, even many people who oppose abortion believe the court would strike down the law, thus strengthening abortion rights.
As for their moral crusade, it's hard to claim you're representing the people when you're forcing through a law that most people are opposed to. Atlee Breland, who formed the Parents Against 26 campaign, has switched the organization's name to Parents Against Personhood since it seems unlikely that the issue is going away anytime soon. She says she's still worried about the effect a personhood amendment would have on women's health, adding that if it had passed, "We have so many members who would have died — their pregnancies would have killed them." But who care about the lives of a few grown women when there are zygotes to protect and pointless political battles to be fought?
Personhood Battle Shifts To Mississippi Capitol [USA Today]