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'Personhood' Movement May Be Coming To A State Near You

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In November, voters in Mississippi rejected a "personhood" ballot measure that would have amended the state's constitution to define a fertilized human egg as a person, effectively making all abortions murders and banning some types of birth control. The measure failed in surprisingly decisive fashion, 58%-42%.

Personhood Mississippi placed the blame on Planned Parenthood for the measure's failure, citing a poll it commissioned to determine "what factors influenced voters. Surprisingly, the poll determined that only 8% of those who voted 'no' did so because they are pro-choice."

"Planned Parenthood pulled the wool over the eyes of Mississippians, and I believe that voters will be shocked to learn the truth," said Les Riley, the head of the group, in a press release about the poll on November 22nd.

TPM has since reached out to Personhood Mississippi multiple times for more information about the poll (which is not sourced), and has only been told that the group is waiting on a response from "a third party that we did the polling through."

Despite the loss, Personhood Mississippi told The Washington Times that it's looking for other avenues to pursue personhood in the state. "I can tell you that we are going to press forward. ... We've got plans to continue a massive grass-roots campaign," said Riley, adding that they also plan to work with the legislature.

Mississippi's Governor-Elect Phil Bryant (R) said that a similar proposal could "resurface in the 2012 legislature."

"We realize we are changing a culture, and we can't expect to change the culture with one election. That's why we are willing to do this as many times as it takes," Jennifer Mason, a spokesman for the Colorado-based Personhood USA, told the Times.

Personhood USA certainly thinks the fight is still worth fighting, as evidenced by this video released in the wake of the measure's failure, which splices footage of Martin Luther King alongside people talking about personhood and calling it the "new civil rights movement":

So it's really no surprise that the list of states with burgeoning personhood movements keeps growing.

First you've got Personhood USA's plans to try for the third time to get a ballot amendment in Colorado, while also initiating efforts in Montana and Oregon. Personhood Florida failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the 2012 ballot, but is working towards a measure for 2014.

And then there are petition efforts in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

In Georgia two state legislators announced plans to draft their own amendments to the state constitution. And in Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall introduced legislation that would grant personhood writes to the state's "unborn children."

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