Mississippi anti-choice activists are waging a serious battle to have voters declare that a fertilized egg should have the same rights as a person does — a designation that could affect stem cell research, abortion, fertility treatments, lifesaving pregnancy interventions and even birth control.
But if reproductive health advocates are looking for any support on stopping the amendment from passing, they’d better not look to the state’s gubernatorial candidates for help. Both candidates — from both parties — are supporting the amendment.
Both candidates for Mississippi governor say they’re voting for a “personhood” ballot initiative that declares life begins when a human egg is fertilized.
Republican Phil Bryant is co-chairman of the “Yes on 26″ campaign that’s pushing for the proposed amendment to the state constitution. Democrat Johnny DuPree says he’s voting for Initiative 26 because it matches his personal beliefs.
DuPree told The Associated Press in a separate interview this month that he believes “fertilization is the beginning of life.”
“The reason I have to say that is because my wife and I were pregnant when we married,” said DuPree, who’s been married nearly 39 years. “We were teenagers. We married. Didn’t abort. We married. My daughter who we didn’t abort has a 4-year-old son. He is an in vitro baby. So, can you see why? Personhood … starts at fertilization. If we didn’t feel that way, we wouldn’t have had our baby. And if we felt that way, I wouldn’t have my grandbaby.”
DuPree said he has some concerns about how the personhood initiative — if approved — will affect birth control and in vitro fertilization, as well as how it will affect victims of rape and incest.
“But that’s not what this is about. That’s not the initiative. That’s down the road,” DuPree said.
Well, since the initiative could eventually make it impossible for in vitro fertilization to happen in the state, I would say that supporting the amendment actually would go against Dupree’s “personal beliefs.” But I suppose that’s just me.