Personhood Proponents To Rebrand, Revamp Effort

Anti-abortion forces are pushing ahead with the so-called personhood initiatives, despite suffering defeat in Mississippi, where a mostly conservative electorate soundly rejected the notion that life should begin at conception. The group, Personhood USA, plans to hold a press conference later today to announce their renewed efforts to pursue personhood amendments in Colorado, Oregon, and Montana:

Organizers said Saturday they are banking on broad grassroots support, with volunteers circulating petitions at grocery stores, and a new game plan. The new version of the measure “will protect every child, no matter their size, level of development, gender, age or race,” said Jennifer Mason, spokeswoman for Personhood USA.

New language “will explain again that every human being is a person from their earliest moments,” Mason said. “And it will include some extra information that hopefully will prohibit lies of our opponents. … It will be a departure from what we’ve done before.”

Personhood initiatives have failed twice before in Colorado by a 3-1 margin, as the medical community and women’s groups used public forums to “cast the measure as misguided, arguing that, beyond ending abortion, declaring fertilization as the starting point for life would lead to a prohibition of emergency contraception in rape cases and limit treatment for miscarriages, tubal pregnancies and infertility.” The same arguments succeeded in Mississippi, where doctors, national conservatives, and even religious leaders all came out against the measure. Mississippi’s Governor-Elect Phil Bryant (R), however, predicts that the personhood proposal or something similar may “resurface in the 2012 legislature” and conservatives are still advancing the initiative in states across the country.

The GOP presidential candidates have mostly avoided taking a position on the issue, although Newt Gingrich suggested on Saturday that he would support a national personhood amendment.