Mississippi Rejects Zygote “Personhood” Amendment


More than 55 percent of Mississippi voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have redefined legal personhood as beginning at conception. The so-called “personhood” measure was the most radically anti-abortion effort in the country, and would have outlawed all abortions and many forms of birth control.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, 57 percent of voters rejected the amendment, according to the Associated Press tally.

The Center for Reproductive Rights called the amendment’s defeat “a tremendous victory for women in the state and across the country.” “Outlawing medical services commonly used and relied upon by Americans in their personal lives runs completely counter to the U.S. Constitution, not to mention some of our most deeply held American political traditions and values,” said Nancy Northup, the group’s president, in a statement.

This is the third time voters have rejected this kind of measure at the polls: Colorado defeated similar efforts in 2008 and 2010. Abortion foes and pro-choice groups were both watching Mississippi avidly this year. Anti-abortion groups in a number of other states are at work on getting their own ballot initiatives in place for the 2012 election, as are some Republican congressmen. Mississippi, one of the most conservative states in the country, was seen as a test case for other measures.

WE DON'T KNOW

What's going to happen next as the headlines grow crazier and more disconcerting by the day. But we do know the job of an independent, unrelenting press is more important than ever—and the ongoing commitment of MoJo readers to fight for a democracy where facts matter and all can participate is absolutely vital.

If you feel the urgency deep in your bones like we do, please consider signing up as a monthly donor during our fall pledge drive to support Mother Jones' fair and fearless reporting for the long haul (or make a one-time gift if that works better for you). The headlines may fade, but the need to investigate the powerful never will.

  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.