Mississippi Personhood: A Blast from the Past, Now if Only it had Stayed There

By Kari R.

I didn’t think I was going to wake up this morning and feel like I was back in 2011. I had just graduated college. I was wrapping up an internship with Organizing for America – the election was so far off we weren’t even calling ourselves Obama for America yet. And Mississippi was making news with Initiative 26, the so-called “Personhood Amendment” that would set abortion rights back to the 1900’s.

Well it’s been two years since college, and I obviously work at the Feminist Majority Foundation now. That could only mean…


Before you throw your computer at the wall, here’s a picture of a kitten to calm you down. 

Adorable animals aside, the threat is real. Last week, the Attorney General of Mississippi approved a personhood initiative measure proposed by the state legislature. Now, personhood supporters have to gather 107,216 valid Mississippi signatures to get it placed on the 2015 ballot. The ballot initiative would read “Should the Mississippi Constitution be amended to state that the right to life as a person begins at conception?” and it only gets better from there! Sarcasm! The actual amendment added to the state constitution would read:

“The right to life begins at conception. All human beings at every stage of development are unique, created in the image of God, and shall enjoy the inalienable right to life as persons under law.”


For those of you who don’t remember the 2011 Personhood Amendment or are unfamiliar with that what such an amendment could do, here’s a lovely list of all the potential ramifications –

  • Outlaw abortion
  • Outlaw abortion in cases of rape
  • Outlaw abortion in cases of incest
  • Outlaw abortion in cases of severe, non-viable fetal abnormality
  • Outlaw abortion to protect the mother’s health
  • Outlaw abortion to save a woman’s life
  • Give rights to a fertilized egg, thereby
  • Ban emergency contraception
  • Ban IUDs
  • Ban birth control pills
  • Outlaw in vitro fertilization
  • Deny life saving cancer treatment
  • Criminalize miscarriages

 At least making signs for this will be easy.

But y’all, hope is not lost! Already people are angry in Mississippi that this is even an issue. There’s a petition on SignOn.org collecting signature against the personhood amendment. There’s also a Facebook group No means NO: Mississippians United Against Personhood that is already ranting and raving against Initiative 41. No Means NO has been active since the battle began in 2011 and has been supporting the lone abortion clinic in Mississippi, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO). And they aren’t the only ones.

Remember that the 2011 Personhood Amendment was overwhelmingly defeated 58% to 42%? Yeah, that happened.


  1. Kari,

    Thank you for spreading the word about No Means NO! We’re gonna stop this crazy, dangerous, unconstitutional amendment again – just like we did in 2011!

    Whitney and David
    No Means NO: Mississippians United Against Personhood

  2. This literally makes me nauseous. I had an abortion at 7 weeks (I think, I can’t quite remember). At the time, I was ready to either abort the pregnancy or slit my wrists. Even at the clinic, I was looking for sharp objects. My abortion saved my life and my sanity.

    The idea that people would say personhood begins at conception is beyond my comprehension. Unless people are monitoring sex in the bedroom, who are they to say WHEN conception happened? If this passes, how far are they going go push things? Welcome back to rusty knitting needles, ladies. I hope you don’t turn septic.


  3. Interesting, that no one that lived the whole Personhood in Mississippi is speaking. There were many groups that helped defend that ballot initiative. Myself being one of them. I live in Mississippi before and after personhood. So, why are there Mississippians at the conference speaking what happened then and what is happening now? There are plenty of groups on face book, but what about the people that went door to door? Women that have to endure this foolishness EVERYDAY, not just when crazy abortion initiatives show up? Not ranting, just tired of Mississippians being left out the conversation about OUR state.

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