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Mississippi Legislature Trying Again For A Personhood Amendment

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This week, a Republican lawmaker in Mississippi's House of Representatives introduced a measure to get an initiative on the November ballot that would ask voters to amend the state's Constitution "to provide that the right to life is a fundamental right and 'person' applies to all humans from conception."

House Concurrent Resolution 61 would "provide that the right to life is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; to provide that the world 'person' applies to all human beings from conception to natural death."

Personhood bills effectively outlaw abortion, and, depending on the language, make illegal certain types of birth control and even in vitro fertilization.

Mississippi's new measure seems written to address those concerns, with the language "certain activities that are not affected or prohibited by this section, including contraception or birth control not killing a person, in vitro fertilization or other methods of reproduction, medical treatment intended to preserve life, or miscarriage."

HC 61, nicknamed "The Right to Life Amendment of 2012," was co-authored by three Republicans and one Democrat, none of whom immediately returned TPM's request for comment. It was referred to the House Constitution Committee.

In November of last year, voters in the state soundly rejected a similar Personhood measure, by a margin of 58%-42%.

In a Facebook posting, Les Riley, the head of Personhood Mississippi, called for supporters to act on behalf of the legislation in response to a Planned Parenthood press release in opposition to it. Riley wondered: "Do they have more enthusiasm to protect death than we do to protect life?"

The Oklahoma Senate passed a measure last week that also defines life as beginning at conception, as did the Virginia House.