Abortion opponents are pushing for another Mississippi ballot initiative that would define life as beginning at conception, coming less than two years after 58 percent of voters in the conservative state rejected a nearly identical proposal.
Sponsors who filed paperwork for a new initiative Tuesday said they believe people were misled about the measure that was defeated in November 2011.
Opponents call the move a waste of time.
“Mississippi voters have already spoken: Health care decisions should be left to a woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith — not politicians,” Felicia Brown-Williams, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said in a news release.
Les Riley, of Pontotoc, who’s with Personhood Mississippi, said during a conference call to announce the initiative: “Yes, they have spoken. They spoke and said they were confused. They didn’t understand the last amendment.”
The proposed initiative says: “The right to life begins at conception. All human beings, at every stage of development, are unique, created in God’s image and shall have equal rights as persons under the law.”
The 2011 initiative said: “Should the term ‘person’ be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?”
The attorney general’s office must prepare a ballot title and summary for the new initiative, which could take a few weeks. Once that’s done, the initiative’s sponsors would have one year to gather at least 107,216 signatures to get the measure on the ballot. That means the earliest likely date for a vote would be in November 2014, when there are congressional elections, or November 2015, coinciding with the next governor’s election.