New Personhood Amendment Filed | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

New Personhood Amendment Filed

— Backers of 2011's unsuccessful Personhood amendment are back with a retooled effort.

The Life at Conception Citizen’s Initiative, which Mississippi resident Anne Reed submitted to the Mississippi Secretary of State's office on March 5, states: “The right to life begins at conception. All human beings, at every stage of development, are unique, created in God’s image and shall have equal rights as persons under the law.”

Reed told reporters on a conference call that she had an abortion at age 17 because she did not want children and did not research alternatives to abortion.

"I wanted what I wanted," Reed said. Personhood failed in Nov. 2011 with 58 percent of the popular voting no amid fears that the law would effectively outlaw in-vitro fertilization and birth control as well as criminalize physicians performing certain procedures.

Steve Crampton, attorney with Liberty Counsel, said in statement that "there is nothing controversial about these propositions."

"Our opponents will try to scare voters with ridiculous hypotheticals about what this amendment will do. I want to set the record straight about what it won't do. The Personhood Amendment won’t ban in vitro fertilization; it won’t ban contraception; it won’t deny healthcare to women; and it won’t put doctors at risk of prosecution for unintended injury to an unborn child. What it will do is recognize the most basic of all human rights, the right to life, for all human beings, born and unborn," Crampton said in the statement.

Felicia Brown-Williams, Planned Parenthood's southeast director of public policy, said in a news release: “Mississippi voters have already spoken: Health care decisions should be left to a woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith – not politicians. Mississippians expect real solutions to the real crises facing our state – not government intrusion into private medical decisions."

She added: “While some would waste more taxpayer money on yet another divisive constitutional amendment with dangerous unintended consequences, it’s time to move forward and work toward policies that will support Mississippi families. Given Mississippi’s high rates of infant mortality, unintended pregnancy and teen births, it is time to focus on expanding access to affordable, quality health care. Planned Parenthood Southeast will continue to provide life-saving cancer screenings, affordable birth control, and STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing to protect the fertility of Mississippi women."

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