As the window for introducing bills in the Mississippi Legislature closes, the personhood debate has once again surfaced.
Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, introduced a resolution to put personhood on the ballot again. The resolution defines "person" as applying to "all human beings from conception to natural death," and, if passed, could go before voters on the November ballot.
In response to confusion over whether last fall's failed Personhood Initiative would ban birth control, in vitro fertilization and life-saving abortions, Gipson's resolution says it would not affect contraceptives "or other methods of birth control that do not kill a person," in vitro fertilization, medical treatment for life-threatening physical conditions or miscarriages.
The resolution also specifies that the state could still enforce the death penalty.
The resolution does not, however, define "conception," beyond "the earliest stage of development of a human being." Like another personhood resolution introduced last week, Gipson's legislation fails to specify whether "conception" means the point at which an egg is fertilized or when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall. Some abortion opponents, including Personhood Colorado, consider birth-control pills to be a form of abortion because they could prevent fertilized eggs from implanting, thus killing a person. The organization says the pill, Plan B and IUD birth control are not true forms of birth control, since they can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
"Recognizing personhood has no effect on true contraceptives that only prevent fertilization, including spermicide, natural family planning and condoms," Personhood Colorado's website says.
The resolution now heads to the House Constitution Committee.
Follow jfp.ms/personhood for more on this story and past coverage of personhood efforts in Mississippi.