The proposal that has sparked the most controversy is Mississippi’s amendment 26, which proposes changing the definition of “person” or “persons” in the state’s Constitution to include every human being from the moment of fertilization.
Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) who supports the proposition, told POLITICO that the amendment signals Mississippi’s refusal to “determine the value of life based on where a person lives, and that we’re not going to draw the line inside the womb or outside the womb.”
The amendment has drawn fire from supporters of abortion rights, who argue that passage would not only have the effect of outlawing abortion entirely, but also have other far-reaching consequences, including banning some forms of birth control. The interpretation of the language of the amendment also has raised some unusual questions, including whether a frozen embryo would also be considered a human being.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the state’s only Democratic member of Congress and an opponent of the measure, said the amendment was “an attempt at putting government in the middle of a woman’s right to choose.”
“Basically, it would make criminals out of a lot of law-abiding citizens, and it’s a poorly worded piece of legislation aimed at penalizing women who exercise their right to choose,” Thompson told POLITICO. “There are individuals who are endlessly against abortion who see this as an opportunity to go ahead and promote that aspect of it.”