Initiative 41 was nearly identical to a 2011 measure, also proposed by Personhood Mississippi, known as Initiative 26. A coalition of groups, including the Feminist Majority Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union, together with student groups, and scores of volunteers worked to defeat that measure at the polls, which Mississippi voters rejected with 58% of the vote.
"When organizers filed Initiative 41, they claimed Mississippi voters were 'confused' about Initiative 26, and that they only needed a few linguistic tweaks to ensure victory. However, the slightly-reworded language of Initiative 41 carried the same potential unintended consequences for infertility treatment, contraception, and life-threatening pregnancy complications," wrote Parents Against Personhood in a statement. "We are relieved that personhood will not appear on the 2015 ballot, and we hope that organizers will respect the opinions that Mississippians have now expressed twice over and decline to pursue future personhood efforts."
Initiative 41 was proposed in the spring of last year. Anti-choice organizers had one year to collect signatures from at least 107,216 registered voters.
Although personhood will not be on the ballot in Mississippi, voters in Colorado and North Dakota will vote on personhood measures in their states this November, and voters in Tennessee will vote on whether to amend the Tennessee state constitution to declare that there is no right to an abortion in the state.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 5/20/14; Parents Against Personhood 5/14/14; Mississippi Secretary of State 3/5/13; Feminist Newswire 11/9/11, 5/1/13, 10/16/13; Huffington Post 3/22/13; Ballotpedia; Feminist Majority Foundation Choices Campus Leadership Program
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