Mississippi Personhood Campaign Files Response to Lawsuit Against Amendment
by Steven Ertelt
July 16, 2010
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — The Mississippi personhood campaign has filed a response to a lawsuit filed by abortion advocates who say the amendment, which attempts to define unborn children as persons and thereby prohibit abortions, is unconstitutional. The ALCU and Planned Parenthood are behind the lawsuit as they have been elsewhere.
Attorneys for the pro-abortion groups have filed an injunction against the Mississippi Secretary of State seeking to disallow Mississippi voters from voting on the measure.
Amendment sponsors and volunteers exceeded state signature requirements on February 17, becoming only the fourth successful ballot initiative in the state since 1992.
Steve Crampton, an attorney helping the pro-life group, said, "I find it ironic that the plaintiffs would wait until the first day the court is open after Independence Day, then file a lawsuit that seeks to continue the oppression of the pre-born and deny the rights of over 130,000 Mississippi voters."
Lt. Governor Phil Bryant also talked about the injunction.
"It is unfortunate that certain people would want to block the protection of innocent human life here in Mississippi by filing suit. Not only are they trying to stop pro-life policy but are also trying to deny the voters of Mississippi an opportunity to voice their beliefs on this issue," he said.
"Those of us who believe there is nothing as important as protecting the unborn will continue to fight to give Mississippians the right to vote to end abortion in our state," he added.
The one-sentence amendment reads, "The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."
Les Riley, sponsor of the Mississippi Personhood Amendment, added that abortion advocates are wrongly saying the amendment is ‘redefining a fertilized egg as a person."
"It has always been the practice of those who want to deny rights to others to use terminology to dehumanize them. There is no such thing as a fertilized egg, as the new life they are referring to is no longer an egg but a person with his or her own DNA," he said.
Some pro-life advocates are also concerned about the constitutionality of the measure and Paul Linton, a prominent pro-life attorney, previously told LifeNews.com he thinks the amendment may not 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.
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