Battle over initiative 26 puts state in spotlight - - The News for South Mississippi

Battle over initiative 26 puts state in spotlight

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Chances are you've heard of what it is and what it aims to do. Initiative 26, known as the personhood amendment, will go before voters in November and if it passes, would alter language in the state constitution to declare life beginning at the moment of fertilization.

"This is an opportunity for Mississippi to be a voice to the country on the issue of abortion," said Reid Guy.

A statewide campaign, YesOn26, is pushing the effort. Field coordinator Reid Guy says the initiative would put a stop to abortions across the state.

"Mississippi is a very pro life state. All we have to do is get the message out there that the initiative is going to be on the ballot," said Guy.

"This is a radical extreme measure. It's not been done anywhere else in the country," said Stan Flint.

Opponents of the measure, like Vote No On 26 campaign consultant Stan Flint say the initiative would be an overreach and interference of the government into personal and private medical decisions.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed an injunction to stop the initiative from appearing on the ballot and if it passes, lawsuits are expected to follow.

"It give politicians the right to reach in and interfere with the most intimate and most difficult decisions that a woman and a family has to make and it's wrong," said Flint.

There are currently active personhood petitions in every state looking to get a measure on a ballot. If it passes in November, Mississippi will be the only state in the country with such an amendment.

Despite the treat of legal maneuvers, Reid says that puts Mississippi in a position to lead the way in challenging the longstanding case of Roe v. Wade which paved the way for abortions.

"If it makes its way up to the Supreme Court and they rule that personhood is constitutional then that does open up a window to overturn Roe v. Wade," said Guy.

Before reaching the Supreme Court, the initiative must first pass through the voter's court.

"If you have a political agenda about some particular bill or some law, don't deny women their health right," said Flint.

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