On November 8, the citizens of Mississippi will vote on a controversial amendment that would define every human being as a person from the moment of conception. The measure, known officially as Proposition 26, is one of six personhood amendments proposed for addition to state constitutions around the country.
Proposition 26 will appear on a statewide ballot after passing successfully through the Mississippi Supreme Court in September. If the measure is voted in, an amendment will be added to the Mississippi constitution that will state in part:
Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi:
Section 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hereby amended by the addition of a new section to read:
Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.
Not all pro-life forces are equally committed to supporting personhood amendments. Some of the oldest foes of abortion, such as the National Right to Life Committee and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, have opted not to make personhood amendments a primary focus, possibly due to concern that the sweeping amendments are hasty and could backfire.
“Right now the focus of the National Right to Life Political Action Committee is on electing a pro-life president, and pro-life majorities in Congress,” said Jessica Rodgers of the National Right to Life Committee.
Nonetheless, few abortion foes would argue with the ideology behind the proposed amendments.
“National Right to Life believes that the unborn child is a person,” Rodgers said, a position that most pro-lifers share, and that Proposition 26 would codify into law.
So far, none of the other personhood amendments have advanced as far as Proposition 26 in Mississippi. Whether the measure advances all the way to becoming law will be determined November 8.
Theresa Civantos is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.