MS Personhood fails to gather signatures

May 14th, 2014 | Posted by Atlee Breland in Legislation | Mississippi

After the defeat of 2011′s Initiative 26, Personhood Mississippi announced plans to pursue a second initiative attempt. They filed paperwork in March 2013 for an attempt to reach the 2015 ballot, subsequently named Initiative 41.

Today is the official deadline for Initiative 41 to submit signatures to the Secretary of State, and it appears all but certain that organizers did not meet the signature requirements. In Mississippi, signatures must be turned in to county clerks for initial verification before they can be submitted to the Secretary of State. Since personhood supporters have not turned in any signatures to county clerks in any of the largest counties, it is no longer possible for them to reach the 2015 ballot.

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. While Mississippians are generally pro-life, voters in 2011 felt that personhood simply went too far, and the new language did nothing to address voters’ concerns.

Today’s results continue to show that Mississippians were not confused at all when they voted 58-42 to defeat personhood in November 2011. A substantial majority of Mississippi voters put a great deal of thought and consideration into their vote on Initiative 26, and by declining to support Initiative 41, they have signaled that they regard personhood as a settled issue.

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.

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