The Mississippi Personhood Amendment, Initiative Measure Number 26, was notified that the motion to remove the Amendment from the Ballot, filed by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, has been denied.
ACLU and Planned Parenthood attorneys originally filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Secretary of State in July, seeking to disallow Mississippi voters from voting on the Mississippi Personhood Amendment. After their court loss, ACLU and Planned Parenthood appealed the decision to the State Supreme Court, where the rights of Mississippi voters were once again upheld, with a powerful statement from the Court decision: “Just as this Court cannot prohibit legislators from offering proposals in the House or Senate, this Court cannot impede voters from submitting proposals through the voter initiative process.”
Amendment sponsors and volunteers exceeded state signature requirements on February 17, becoming only the fourth successful ballot initiative since 1992. The one-sentence amendment, Initiative Measure Number 26, reads, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
The ACLU then filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the Personhood amendment, which seeks to define the term “person,” modifies the Bill of Rights, which is expressly prohibited by Section 273(5).
Steve Crampton, Liberty Counsel attorney for Personhood Mississippi, explained that Section 273(5) does not prohibit the definition of an otherwise undefined term, such as “person.” Crampton went on to explain that the Personhood Amendment complies with section 273(5)(a) because it does not propose any new right and does not modify or repeal any existing right guaranteed under our Bill of Rights. Instead, the Personhood amendment merely defines the term “person” and does not modify the Bill of Rights in any way.
“We believed that the Court would uphold the rights of Mississippi voters, and we are thankful that they have done so,” stated Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “Mississippians volunteered thousands of hours of their time to ensure that voters would have the right to vote on this prolife amendment, and their voices should be heard. Amendment 26 sends a prolife message to the rest of the United States – babies in the womb are people, and have the right to live.”
The decision came just in time, as an exclusive event featuring keynote speaker Governor Mike Huckabee, special guest author and activist Deanna Favre, and musical guest Mark Schultz will be held tonight to kick off the official start of the Amendment 26 campaign.