Mississippi votes down zygote personhood

Posted on November 9, 2011

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I had my editorial all planned out in my head. First, Mississippi was going to be the first state to approve the thoroughly idiotic state constitutional amendment defining a fertilized egg (a zygote) as a person. Second, I… well, I never got past that first step, because Mississippi voters did the smart thing and voted down an amendment that would have made pregnant women second-class citizens at best, and livestock at worst.

Yes, the vote was closer than it really should have been (it failed 58% to 42%), but given I was legitimately concerned that socially conservative Mississippi would approve it, I won’t complain. I’m sure that it helps that, according to the Associated Press this morning, Episcopalians and Methodists opposed the amendment, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson was neutral on it, every state medical organization was either neutral or opposed it, and the popular outgoing governor Haley Barbour said he had reservations about it.

Still, while this battle against zygote personhood has been won, the war continues. Personhood USA, the group pushing this boneheaded idea, is trying to get amendments or laws on the ballots in at least half the states for 2012, and so I somehow feel certain that I’ll have more opportunities to talk about just how dangerous and stupid zygote personhood actually is. Mississippi’s rejection gives me hope that I won’t ever have to write that planned editorial. After all, if the people of Mississippi can be convinced that it’s a really, really, really bad idea, then voters in any state can be.

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