Mississippi Voters Reject "Personhood" Amendment

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi voters Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative that would’ve declared life begins at conception, a proposal that supporters sought in the Bible Belt state as a way to prompt a legal challenge to abortion rights nationwide.

The so-called “personhood” initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted. If it had passed, it was virtually assured of drawing legal challenges because it conflicts with the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion. Supporters of the initiative wanted to provoke a lawsuit to challenge the landmark ruling.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/billygutter01 billygutter01

    This is most inspiring news!

    If it can’t pass in Mississippi, there’s hope.

    *cracks beer, grins*

  • http://www.revolutionsf.com/bb/weblog.php?w=20 Paleoethnobotanist

    I was glued to the computer screen, refreshing the results. This is excellent news. I do not live in Mississippi, but I was (and am) very concerned about my state, or any other state, following their lead. I hope this means that attacking women’s rights becoming less of a good political move.

  • Konradius

    What I’m wondering about is what those other 45% of voters was thinking…

  • rwahrens

    This is encouraging news. I will note, however, that I am not terribly surprised, merely gratified.

    In every other case where the issue of abortion has been placed on the ballot – and make no bones about it, this case WAS about abortion, even if there were other concerns – the results were similar.

    The American people, by a growing margin, support abortion rights. In some places, by slim margins, one can enact a few restrictions on some types of abortions, such as late term abortions, but in general, when placed on an open ballot, the anti-abortionists lose.

    So why they still try, I really don’t know.

    • Dean Buchanan


      So why they still try, I really don’t know.

      I think it rallies the core supporters and makes it likely that more will show up to the polls and vote. It also generates a lot of donations. This is aside from whether the politician or state party really believes it or not.

  • lordshipmayhem

    I’d been reading about how this was also splitting support among those you’d think would be supporting it: the deeply religious. It would have outlawed in-vitro fertilization, IUD’s and other medical procedures that a lot of them actually think of as perfectly OK for Christian fundies to use, at least between married couples.

    Back to the drawing board.

  • Lauren Ipsum

    Deeply relieved. It’s nice to know that there are some lines even most wackaloons won’t cross.

  • peterh

    @ #3

    “What” they were thinking? Are you sure they they were doing any thinking at all?