Yesterday voters in Mississippi rejected Amendment 26 which would have declared a fertilized egg a person. The final numbers are not in but it appears that the measure was defeated by a margin of at least of 55% to 45%. A stunning number when one considers that Mississippi is the heart of the Bible Belt.
This is not the first time that personhood and other efforts to ban abortion have been defeated at the polls. In South Dakota, voters rejected efforts to ban abortion in 2006 and 2008. Personhood amendments failed in Colorado in 2008 and 2010 as well. With each defeat, new excuses are made by pro-life groups and the message that voters are sending to Republicans is lost.
And excuses will be made for the defeat in Mississippi. The supporters of Amendment 26 are already blaming "scare tactics" for their defeat. But is not scare tactics that defeated their effort. It is common sense. Anyone looking at a fertilized egg under a microscope will note the difference between the zygote and a born person standing before them.
The message voters are sending to the GOP is clear. After 40 years of inflamatory language about killing babies, voters still believe that government has no business intruding in such private matters. That one group does not have the right to use government to impose their religious beliefs on others; that women do not lose their rights as individuals just because they become pregnant.
Last night voters in Mississippi rejected Amendment 26 and at the same time elected a Republican governor. Blaming Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, feminists and assorted bogeymen(women) will only cause the GOP to suffer more defeats at the polls. In 2010, the Eagle Forum noted the damage done to Republican candidates in Colorado as a result of the 2008 personhood amendment. Personhood USA has vowed to put similar amendment on the ballot next year. Republican politicians should stay clear of said efforts.
Abortion is a complex and difficult issue. The Republican party is right in standing up for the sanctity of human life. However, the GOP needs to focus its efforts to reduce the number of abortions by preventing unwanted pregnancies, promoting adoptions and it needs to steer away from gimmicks like the personhood amendment and legal bans. That is the message voters - even those in deep red states - have sent the GOP. Time to listen to the people.