Mississippi Votes No on Initiative 26, but Zygote-Rights Zealots Press On

Even in Mississippi—a Bible belt state with only one abortion clinic—58 percent of voters rejected Ballot Initiative 26, the so-called Personhood Amendment that would have granted zygotes the same rights as the women who carry them.

Sponsored by the Colorado-based evangelical Christian group Personhood USA, and modeled after a provision that failed in Colorado twice, Initiative 26 would have outlawed abortion in Mississippi, even in cases of rape, incest, domestic violence and life-threatening pregnancy. In addition, this change in the state’s constitution would have criminalized in-vitro fertilization and birth control methods including the IUD.

Personhood Mississippi head Les Riley—who in June sponsored a “Conceived in Rape” speaking tour to promote Initiative 26—refused to acknowledge the loss: “We are not conceding because we did our duty. We have obeyed God,” he told CNN. Proponents are reportedly planning another personhood initiative in Mississippi and preparing to bring it to 2012 ballots in Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada and California.