The Mississippi “Personhood” Amendment: Attacking Women’s Health and Rights


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Amid a nationwide onslaught of attacks on women’s health and constitutionally protected reproductive rights, the Mississippi “personhood” amendment, aka Initiative 26, is unquestionably the most extreme.

Proponents of recognizing every fertilized egg as a person admit this measure is intended to ban all abortions—including in cases of rape. But it would go much further:

  • Outlawing many forms of birth control—including IUDs, emergency contraception, and even some forms of the Pill.
  • Putting doctors and women at risk of criminal prosecution for doing nothing more than engaging in routine OB-GYN care.
  • Potentially halting many forms of infertility treatment—including IVF.
  • Opening women to potential criminal prosecution for suffering miscarriages.

The Center for Reproductive Rights strongly opposes this proposed amendment. We have already pledged to challenge it in court if it passes next Tuesday, November 8, and we have appeared in a number of media outlets urging voters to oppose the measure.

Learn more about this dangerous ballot measure through our media resources—then pledge to stand with us against Initiative 26.

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PBS: Religion &amp, Ethics Newsweekly
Friday, November 4, 2011
Interviewee: Nancy Northup

Summary: Proponents insist Mississippi’s Amendment 26 is not so much about abortion as it is about the sanctity of human life. But if passed, the Amendment could make any abortion in the state murder, drawing the wrath of abortion rights advocates like Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "This measure is blatantly unconstitutional and we’ll be looking to stop it with the constitutional protections of the court." Play now &gt,

Religion and Ethics


CNN Newsroom 
Monday, October 31, 2011 at 2:30pm ET
Interviewee: Jordan Goldberg, State Advocacy Counsel

Summary: CNN debates both sides of a controversial abortion-related ballot initiative set for Mississippi voters. Play now &gt,



The Diane Rehm Show (WAMU)
Monday, October 31, 2011 at 10:00am ET
Interviewee: Suzanne Novak, Senior Staff Attorney in the U.S. Legal Program

Play now

Summary: Mississippi will ask voters next week to decide whether to give legal status to fertilized human eggs. If the ballot measure is approved, abortion would become tantamount to murder. And in vitro fertility clinics and popular methods of birth control could be outlawed. Many observers deem it one of the gravest assaults on women's reproductive rights in decades. Similar efforts to redefine "personhood" are in the works in several states. Colorado voters twice defeated personhood initiatives recently. But many expect the Mississippi measure to pass. Play now &gt,

On Point with Tom Ashbrook  (WBUR)
Monday, October 31, 2011 at 10:00am ET
Interviewee: Nancy Northup, President and CEO

Play now

Summary: The abortion battle goes deep next Tuesday in the state of Mississippi. Voters there go to the polls to decide whether to write into the Mississippi constitution an amendment stating that life begins at conception. Sperm meets egg and you would have a legal person. It would make abortion in any circumstance virtually impossible under the law. Backers of the so-called “personhood” movement hope to take it national. Use it to batter down Roe v Wade. Mississippi may be their first big victory. Play now &gt,