Although the initiative has a new name, Initiative 41, and a few revisions, the overall goal of the proposition is exactly the same: to define life in the Mississippi Constitution as beginning at the moment of conception.
Personhood Mississippi, the leading organization responsible for both initiatives, claims the issue Initiative 41 was created to solve is a simple one, but opponents to initiative argue that the exact opposite is true.
After its defeat by a 58 percent vote in 2011, drafters of the initiative immediately went to work to revise the proposition in a way to mend the problems flagged by voters who seemed to be on the fence about the hot-button issue.
Opponents to the original initiative even included some openly Pro-Life supporters, which suggests the inherent issues of the proposed bill include much ore than just abortion.
Aside from the obvious consequences of the initiative– such as outlawing abortion completely– opponents also claim that the wording of the initiative itself is very dangerous because of its vagueness and ambiguity.
They argued that because of the language of the proposed bill, it would outlaw birth control, certain procedures like in vitro fertilization, and possibly even procedures to save a mother’s life if endangered by the child.
Many doctors also believe that such a law would greatly interfere with the privacy between doctors and patients and create a slippery slope that would only increasingly become worse.
In response to the arguments of the opponents to the initiative, Personhood Mississippi consistently stated that the right to life supersedes all of these concerns.
Tanya Britton, who works with Pro-Life Mississippi, said, “What you’re asking is a human life worth it. And I say yes without a doubt, regardless of how difficult the battle becomes.”
Proponents of the potential amendment are working to have Initiative 41 on the 2015 ballot. In order to do so, they must first gain 108,000 signatures on their petition.
No matter the fate of this particular initiative, the debate at its core is sure to continue long afterwards. The state of Mississippi, and in fact the entire nation, has seen only the beginning of the war over the definition of life.
– Caylan Devine, Contributing Writer