In the weeks leading up to Mississippi's vote on whether to declare a fertilized egg a person and grant it full rights, nearly everyone was saying the measure was sure to pass.
It was considered the perfect place to mount what could have been a historic challenge to abortion laws: After all, Mississippi is the most anti-abortion, religious and conservative state, according to a Gallup Poll. It was supposed to give a boost to the nationwide movement of the Colorado-based nonprofit Christian group Personhood USA, which is attempting to get the measure on the ballot in several other states.
The measure had all of the momentum within the state, with both the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor endorsing it.
But on Tuesday, voters rejected the measure.
So what exactly happened?
There were a few theories floating around Wednesday morning after the measure was defeated. (The Clarion-Ledger said with 96% of precincts reporting, the vote was 58% to 42% against the measure.)
1) People began asking questions about the language of the amendment.
Many of those opposing the bill who spoke to CNN said there simply had not been enough discussion about what the amendment would actually do. Women we spoke to said they felt this was government overreaching to begin with, but they weren't even sure how far-reaching it would be because the language was so ambiguous.
They wanted to know: What are the implications? What will it mean for women's reproductive rights? What does it mean about the decisions a woman can make with her doctor? Will it mean women will be at the mercy of the state when it comes to everything from taking certain birth control pills to trying to conceive if a couple is infertile? What happens to those fertilized eggs for IVF treatments if they aren't used? And would people be facing prosecution if they did any of those things?
Certainly, as opponents suggested, the vague language of the bill and the unknown implications could have been part of what swayed voters.
Many of those questions were dismissed by those in support of the bill, saying they were merely scare tactics. All they were trying to do was give equal rights to the unborn, supporters said, the same ones afforded to the mother.
2) Media organizations from across the country descended on Mississippi in the week before the election to cover the controversial issue.
The national media spotlight added to the conversation around the measure and certainly gained attention for the movement. As coverage ramped up, the scales seemed to start tipping. A measure that was expected to pass easily now was really stirring up debate. Legal experts began discussing the implications, contending the amendment would violate federal law as outlined by the Roe v. Wade ruling.
Columnists across the globe began weighing in on the amendment itself, what it meant for the abortion debate overall, and whether they felt this was the right way to go about a change.
Members of the media also began speaking to some key figures from prominent churches who were anti-abortion, but said they still couldn't endorse the measure because they feared the bill might be so ambiguous or far-reaching that it could actually hamper the ability to take down Roe v. Wade and it could actually strengthen its standing.
3) Key figures voiced concerns right before the election.
In the day before the election, polls were the closest they had ever been, with a Public Policy poll showing that 44% opposed the constitutional amendment and 45% supported it. That meant there was a key 11% of voters who were undecided on the issue – and a media campaign was directed their way. Grass-roots efforts from the group No on 26 picked up with the support of the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
But there are many who suggest that comments from outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour in the middle of last week could have been part of what swayed the vote. As the debate about the proposed amendment bubbled to the national level, the fiercely conservative governor came out and did something not many expected: He expressed that he was undecided about the issue, saying it was "too ambiguous."
Then, on Friday, Barbour came out and publicly said that even though he still had some concerns, he believed that life did begin at conception, and had cast his ballot.
But for some, that undecided statement, from a very anti-abortion man, was a signal that the measure might be in trouble.
The Christian Science Monitor published an article on why support waned as Election Day neared. Their subhead read: "Reservations by the medical community and even Gov. Haley Barbour ahead of Election Day have made a dent in support for a Mississippi measure that would confer 'personhood' on fertilized eggs."
What happens now for personhood movement?
Those behind the Mississippi measure, and the nationwide movement for "personhood," have said that they will continue their efforts to give equal rights to the unborn from the moment of conception.
"Personhood USA understands that changing a culture – and changing a country – will not happen with one election, and so it is not unexpected," a statement on their website reads. "We thank the over one quarter of a million Mississippians who voted for Amendment 26. We vow to continue on this path towards affirming the basic dignity and human rights of all people because we are assured that it is the right thing to do, and we are prepared for a long journey."
That long journey may not take long to continue. While Mississippi was expected to be the best chance at passing the measure, there are still plenty of other states taking up the cause, including nine that will have it on the ballot during the 2012 presidential election. They include the key states of Florida and Ohio.
"State by state, and election by election, we are taking critical steps towards defending the right to life of all human beings, every person, and ending the dangerous and deadly practice of abortion," the group said. "The time has come for America to stop treating the unborn as property to be disposed of as we see fit. We are thankful that lives were saved and hearts were changed through the Yes on 26 campaign, and we are prepared to do it again in multiple states across the nation."
Yes on 26, the state group in Mississippi working with Personhood USA, had removed almost all of their videos and language from their website as of Wednesday morning. All that remained was a lone photo of a fetus, shown below, with the words Thank You, for those who supported the measure.
The website for Yes on 26 has replaced most of their campaign literature with this photo.
But if Personhood USA's statement is any indication, the fight against Roe v. Wade and the battle to redefine "personhood" will continue across the nation. Personhood USA says it expects to have the measure back on the ballot in Mississippi a second time, as it did in Colorado.
"We recognize that the right time to end abortion in Mississippi is now, and that is why the citizens of Mississippi will attempt a personhood ballot measure again – and again, if necessary – until every person’s life is protected," the group said.
The reason Mississippi is voting on whether to declare a fertilized egg a person and grant it full rights, is because the average fertilized egg has an IQ equal to that of the average Mississippian. This is just self serivng politics.
Though it does speak volumes that the state with the most stupid people per capita, and the most insanely religious per capita, voted it down.
I think it speaks volumes that people on both sides who believe they are right would rather throw insults ("murderer" vs. "stupid") than debate the issue.
wow..ignorance and bigotry at its finest. you must believe that you're so much better than anyone else....but your hatred has you blinded into ignorance.
what gets me the most about these far right is how hypocritiucal they are in determining "life"...all eggs are people but it is ok to execute criminals because they are "bad" and ok to support military and miltary intervention because in the old testament the "sword" was used to sleigh "the enemy" and "unbelievers"
It is sad that you have to generalize an entire state. However, based upon your screen name, I am definitely not surprised. I am pleased that the people of my homestate stood up and voted this down.
I guess the part of your brain with intelligence ended up being wiped up with a towel off of your moms leg.
flfx: people read you comment and "gloss over" it and still make a bigoted remark because they have no defense...pathetic.
Personhood USA spends MILLIONS of $$$ pimping a measure that has never been successful. It has either failed to get on a ballot, or voted down. In Colorado last year, for the SECOND time running, it was voted down 3:1. Which leads me to ask a dumb question. Why is personhood wasting MILLIONS of money fighting an unwinable battle, when they could use those MILLIONS to A) educate kids on the proper use of contraception so that unplanned pregnancies don't happen B) abortion isn't needed and C) Throw some of those MILLIONS into ensuring that the children that are BORN have equal access to education, housing, food, clothing?
You're asking a question based on logic and sensibility. Personhood USA and its supporters are neither logical not sensible. It's pure emotion.
You are making much too much sense...stop it!
Because the religious deep down want "control" of others. Doing good instead has nothing to do with religion.
The answer to that question is: Because that is the sane thing to do. These people have something akin to obsessive compulisive disorder. They cannot think thins through in a rational way and so stick to the same old routine over and over.
I can only imagine with a due sense of horror what would have happened if this was passed. Kudos to those in Mississippi that took a few minutes to think this through.
OMG what a logical statement. I think I love you right now.
A): they don't believe in the use of contraception. To them, abstinence is the ONLY way. B) it will always be needed. C) Didn't you know that once they are born, if they are poor, they are leeches and no-good parasites on society? How could you not know that's the way they think? It's only the unborn they care about. Once outside, you're on your own and if you don't have a job or a home, it's your fault. This draconian legislation is DOA in every state in it's present form. If it can't pass in MS, then forget anywhere else. Only if they rework it alot, will it even come close to passing in an election. Only to be overturned by the SCOTUS.
I love the way you think. I never could quite figure out why the GOP behind this fight is so quick to express indignation and throw out the word murder in regards to a fertilized egg, but fail to take any steps to keep children from starving to death. Once you're born, it's none of their concern to keep you alive. Don't they know how many children right here in America are starving and in need of medical care they can't possibly receive because it's not available to them. Where's the indignation over these lives.
Because they are intolerant bigots who cannot stand that there are others who behave differently than they think people should behave, who think differently than they believe people should think, who believe other things than they insist people should believe. They cannot abide a diverse, tolerant society where all members are free to pursue their lives as they themselves see fit, and they will not be satisfied until their will is imposed by the power of the state on the entire citizenry.
Maybe you need to read the transcripts from Roe v. Wade...Then you will see why Personhood is not giving up.
Not to mention that in Mississippi, life begins at "Hey baby can I buy you a beer?"
It also means the cops will be knocking on their motel door the next morning. The charge. They just made a person drunk, so are endangering the welfare of a minor. It does not matter if the mother drinks a beer at seven months pregnant, seven minutes or seven seconds, still a person.
That's an interesting connection given how often it ends there with, "Hey, hold my beer a second. Y'all watch this."
@ banasy, just google the "process of life" ok, and I'm busy and haven't had the chance to read the amendment, therefore WON'T go any further untill I have later on this evening. Have good a day. :)
This is not about Gov't control, but about Religious control. Keep your Fairy Tales to yourself and stop pushing your beleifs on others! I think ANY religious group that gets involved in politics should loose their tax exempt status!
"...ANY religious group that gets involved in politics should loose their tax exempt status!" Isn't that actually the law? Does Mississippi also have a problem finding competent prosecutors?
Agreed! This country was founded on FREEDOM. Freedom from religeous persecution, freedom to worship what ever God you choose. All these nut job wacko churches are free to say what they like (and not pay taxes) yet their message is one of hate and the taking away of our freedoms.
It is the law!! Maybe we could lower our debt if more churches were required to pay taxes when they didn't obey this law.
Dear Evangelical Christians:
First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous. Grow a brain.
Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors, their credibility or their possible ulterior motives, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.
Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.
Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who withheld evidence of my existence in the first place.
Fifth, I would not care who you do or how you “do it”. I really wouldn’t. This would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Oh, the egos.
Sixth, I would have smited all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric for me to even contemplate).
Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.
Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.
Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?
Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.
Move on – get over me. I did.
Real idiot here LOL
Nicely put...the Jeebers probably shut off after the second line.
Sarcastic but incisive. Thank you.
Very well done. Now there is a god I might believe in.
Right on the spot. Couldn't have said it better myself :)
Bravo! Author! Author!
Great! Spot on!
Lord Flashhart – as in Blackadder? That was hilarious.
I'm a bit religious, even I found that funny. Good show sir...
Condescending much? Just because you think you are right about God doesn't mean you have to be insulting about it. True, religion has its issues and contradictions but that does not mean Science has all the answers as well. I try to use religion and science as a guideline, a standard to life, not an absolute dogmatic narrow minded approach with no logic or reasoning or basic thought. I accept the fact I could be wrong but that does not prevent me from believing in the possibility. I suggest you do the same before you become the bitter atheist that no one likes.
iI'm going to copy this....one of the best, most logical answers to the religious debate EVER!!!!! Thank you!
I am a spiritual person and I thought that was real funny! Very well thought out and written! Great Job!
Absolutely priceless. I'll copy this to Facebook. It's too good not to share.
A god that does not exist could not and therefore would not speak, or write a letter. Therefore, you can't be the god you claim to be or attempt to imitate only to prove your 'non-existence'. If God doesn't exist, you have nothing to be concerned about. No person in this world has any more voice or power than you, so why be so afraid of what they say being true and put so much energy into dis-proving them? What you truly fear is that God DOES exist. It's a good thing He loves us all. Contrary to what some 'believers' say, you have the same opportunity to choose to live eternally in Paradise as anybody. Jesus is more interested in you than you assume. Maybe give Him an honest try. Nothing to fear there. Chill out and enjoy life for a change.
A lot of writing with no substance. Typical liberal.
Kraig V "A god that does not exist could not and therefore would not speak, or write a letter. Therefore, you can't be the god you claim to be or attempt to imitate only to prove your 'non-existence'."
Damn, foiled again. You saw through my brilliant ruse!
You have a right to believe what you want to. Do not insult me for having a different belief than you do. Non-believers are at times much worse than the religious zealots. You are no better than them and you dissertation proves that.
PS. If you still believe in me and the "bible" than be ready to meet the end of days on 12-12-12 (the end of Mayan Calendar). For everyone else, free shot of whiskey on 12-13-12.
P. Ilyich T.–
Yeah... cuz the religious folk are always so polite...
Brilliant my friend, brilliant. Cheers! -Terry
Now that’s a god I would believe in he sounds rational !
This is great, so funny I'm raised Catholic, and struggle to find a purpose in believing in a God, Bible, Saints or Angels when there is so much pain and suffering I see in this world. And yet these are the political issues being crammed down our throats? REALLY?? We come and go in this life. To bad we can't all follow the Golden Rule.
WOW, an intelligent blog.
Great post Colin, here is my tribute to your words. http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/m6o7b/a_letter_from_god/
You can lead a horse to water, but...
Colin, Excellent elucidation!! To where do I now send 10% of my income?
Simplistic rhetoric, but it is your right.
How long did it take to write this? You must have a deep hatred for Christians. Pretty scary.
I must admit, very funny...and I am one of those crazy scary culty Mormons.
For many reasons I believe in God, but I can still find the humor in things like this post that are humorous. I have my beliefs, and I have reasons why I believe the way I do. I served an LDS "Mormon" mission and taught people who were interested to learn. If people were not interested to hear what we had to say, no worries.
All of that being said, I find people on the extremes of these issues are all a bit freakn crazy. There is a middle ground, why don't more people argue for that?
God does exist. He loves all. He is a just God. We will all see Him one day @ judgement. If you are a believer you will spend eternity with Him. Life also begins at conception.
Colin's post was the most lucid, intelligent post I've seen in quite a while. Bravo-and thanks for the clarity, which is something very much lacking in this 'debate' about rights of cells.
This was more of an effort for one group to enforce their religious beliefs on everyone than anything else. I would not want any women I impregnated to have an abortion, but it is not up to me to force her to have the child. It is HER choice. I may choose to never associate with her again, but that is MY choice.
Do you know why murder is illegal in the US? Because God called it sin. "You shall not murder." The scripture existed long before any religion or modern government. You need to get your history straight. It was believers that made it the law of the land, who also considered taking ANY human life, whether an adult, child, or baby (except for the murderer's) to be murder. If someone is irresponsible enough to not control their urges, or use proper contraception, then they make themselves no higher than a base animal. Even so, an animal would care for their young instead of kill them. So, now tell me, what's so 'compassionate' about killing a baby? To only be concerned about one's own comfort is selfish and irresponsible.
KraigV – are you seriously going to insinuate that the Bible is older than any other religion? Are you seriously going to admit to the world your ignorance of world history and religions/beliefs? Wow.
Kraig: You might want to double-check your facts there regarding other animals (because humans ARE animals, sorry to say) killing their young. Chimpanzees, dolphins, lions ... it's actually pretty common as a form of ensuring that your genes are carried on to the next generation rather than a rivals. Also, among many human cultures, infanticide is and was practiced as a form of population control when resources were scarce (like, oh say, now?). The difference now is that we have the technology and capability for women to decide to end an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy before the fetus is born. Please check your ethnocentrism and wild speculation at the door.
Also, you can't have your cake and eat it too ... if ALL murder is wrong, then you should equally stand against the death penalty, which is the government-sanctioned murder of LIVING human beings. And as the Troy Davis case (among others) has shown us, executed individuals are not always shown to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Maybe you are against the death penalty, but many who call themselves pro-life (I prefer the terms anti-women or anti-choice) continue to support it.
Kraig, really? *Really?* And that would explain why murder is also illegal in non-Chrisitan, non-theistic cultures. Myopic.
Considering that there's at least as much Biblical reference to individual life beginning at birth as opposed to conception (Numbers 5, conveyance of soul at first breath, etc.), wouldn't it be easier for everybody if the Christian establishment just changed their minds and got comfortable with abortion?
I've been on both sides of this issue. I think our society would benefit from a bit more respect for women as the gateway to existence. Each woman has the power to decide whether or not future people happen through her body. That's a fact of nature. That's a tremendous and awesome power which is totally denied to males (save through deliberately paternalistic legislative affairs like this ridiculous proposed amendment).
Legally, life begins at birth. Logically, life begins at birth. Naturally, life begins at birth. Thought of in this way, abortion becomes a complete non-problem. You don't even have to lose your religion to think this way. There's plenty of real problems in the world to focus your attention on.
TW I agree with you, completely. What I want to know is could these people guarantee that the children (babies to teenagers) who already exist will be safely adopted before any such bill/amendment would be enacted? What about the children already alive....
And also, as people in other posts mentioned before, what about cancer patients, or those that develop a life threatening illness then find out they're pregnant? According to Yes to 26, the mother's life is ok to waste to save the child....
Even the Catholic Church found that to be an issue with this amendment.
I agree with swissmiss. This country spends too much time denying education to everyone. Whether its from a history book to planned parenthood, we've got too much time to fight for the wrong reasons. If you disagree with abortion, that is your right, but you don't have a right to make it unavailable to me or force me to look at pictures of aborted fetus' or force me to consider other alternatives. I just read a story where more money will be spent prosecuting a woman who denied her baby food and it died in a vacant buiding, alone and where she'd check on it periodically...really was that long – prolonged God aweful way to slowly die never knowing anything but why is this happening to me worth the cause? NO, just let a women have an abortion and mind your business.
A mindless blob of goo with no brain should not have any rights. Therefore, neither should religious idiot fundamentalists.
neither should you from that comment you just made
Hit too close to home, Casey?
Oh come now, Americans SHOULD have rights, even if they aren't mature enough to exercise them.
Hi Banasy. I didn't get back on yesterday because it got hectic here. A friend's apartment was damaged by the neighbor knocking down the wall between the two apartments just because he was mad at his wife and didn't want to kill her. Crazy people.
Hi, you don't know me, but why didn't your neighbore just walk out the door?
If this can't pass in Mississippi it won't pass anywhere.
These nut jobs will probably:
1) Resubmit this every year until it finally gets passed
2) Resubmit this with the word "fertilized" taken out and replaced with "implanted"
It's a shame that pretty much the issue of IVF was why this initiative failed. IVF should be outlawed anyway.
Based on what, Bob? Your opinion? Good thing you aren't a woman and will never have to make that chioice. This all about opinion anyway.
Since sperm and egg cells are clearly alive, even the statement that "life begins at conception" is clearly brain damage.
That's a beautiful argument (not being sarcastic)
Mosquitos are clearly alive too, where are all the "Swatting is Murder!" protests?
Driranke... do you consider your morning egg an abuse of a chicken fetus?
Your morning egg isn't a chicken fetus. it's an egg. it's only a fetus if it was ever fertilized.
So I'm sure the Republican Fundamentalist thought behind grossly overpopulating, is to essentially cause a wider wealth gap. Considering the majority of the population breeding like crazy is the lower classes and what better way to keep people poor than to saddle society with the burden of an extra mouth to feed. Couple contriutions to a charity, write off some taxes, pretend I care; but don't and laugh all the way to the bank.
GOP = American Taliban = FAILED !!
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