Mississippi Personhood Amendment to Ban Abortions Gets Enough Signatures

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 1, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mississippi Personhood Amendment to Ban Abortions Gets Enough Signatures

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 1
, 2010

Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has notified the backers of the personhood amendment in Mississippi that the state ballot measure received enough signatures. But whether it will ever succeed in its goal of banning abortions is another question.

The amendment is the fourth ballot initiative since 1992 to fulfill the requirement of 89,285 voter signatures.

"The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof," it says.

Les Riley, sponsor of the personhood amendment, told LifeNews.com that it’s about all pro-life advocates can do to limit abortions in the state since the legislature has passed almost as many pro-life laws as possible to reduce them.

"The Legislature of the State of Mississippi has passed just about every restriction on abortion that can be passed," he said. "Still, about 3,000 pre-born persons are murdered annually here."

"We believe that the Mississippi Personhood Amendment will be voted into the Constitution, and defended," Riley added.

On February 16, the sponsors submitted over 130,000 signatures, affirming the personhood rights of pre-born babies in Mississippi.

Paul Linton, a prominent pro-life attorney, tells LifeNews.com he doesn’t think the amendment will ever get before Mississippi voters.

"I would expect those who are opposed to the initiative to challenge it in court before it appears on the ballot," he said of abortion advocates. "Whether they will wait until after the legislature has had an opportunity to review it (which is mandated under the Mississippi Constitution) remains to be seen."

He explains that the under the express terms of the Mississippi Constitution, the Bill of Rights cannot be amended by the initiative mechanism and it will almost certainly be struck down in court and end in failure.

"There is no doubt in my mind, however, that the initiative is an improper attempt to amend the state Bill of Rights, (by defining terms used in the Bill of Rights and by overturning the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision in the Fordice case recognizing a state privacy right to abortion), which is expressly prohibited by the state constitution," he said.

"The initiative will have no impact whatsoever on the legality or incidence of abortion in Mississippi," Linton believes.

Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant has been strongly supporting the personhood amendment and appeared at events with its supporters.

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