Mississippi voters defeated Amendment 26, an initiative to outlaw abortion and some forms of birth control in the southern state. The rejection of the pro-life movement, also known as the "Personhood Amendment," has received passionate mixed reactions from the public.
Following the defeat, PersonhoodUSA.com posted a letter that says: "Recognizing everyone as a legal person, is the right thing to do. It is always right to protect our citizens." In the reaction letter, the movement's leaders quote Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous statement: "The time is always right to do what is right."
Whether people believe the "Personhood Amendment" is right or not is exactly what has divided feedback on the rejection of this controversial bill that legally defines a person as existing at the moment of fertilization.
If the bill had passed, it would have outlawed abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. Under various interpretations of the amendment, it could have also outlawed some current fertility treatments, as well as some forms of birth control pills and contraceptive devices, such as the IUD, because they can - in some cases - prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the womb.
One Mississippi woman against Initiative 26 told the Clarion Ledger that she was encouraged by the outcome.
Atlee Breland, 34, said, "Oh, my gosh, as a mother who struggled and fought to have a family through in vitro fertilization, the idea that this could be taken away from women like me was terrifying.”
"To know that voters stood up for the right of women to have a family this way and to use the forms of birth control we want ... it's just amazing," Breland told the Ledger.
Within the heated back-and-forth thread under Personhood USA's Facebook page status update about watching the votes roll in, one commenter said the issue is a matter of selfishness versus following God.
They wrote, "You can't be selfish while following God's will. I've heard so many selfish stories of women's rights and so on. This has shown me how far from the cross Mississippi has fallen."
One supporter of the "Personhood Amendment" wrote, "There have been so many false reports and rumors, etc that many people have absolutely no idea what is actually the truth. Because of this, there are many people that claim Christ that voted 'no' that sincerely believed they were doing the right thing. Granted, there are many people who knew what they were voting for and still voted no. But many people voted no because they believed it was the right thing to do. They shouldn't be hated, therefore, but pitied."
One person shared their view that this particular initiative was not necessarily a pro-life versus pro-choice issue.
They wrote, "Some people who voted 'no' are pro-life! They are against abortion itself but the wording of the legislation just went too far for them to be comfortable voting yes. They aren't pro abortion; they just believe the act needs to be taken back to the drawing board."
Many expressed concern about the initiative's outlaw of abortion for rape victims.
On person commented, "I am proud to be a disgrace to women if being a disgrace meant standing up to what I believed in. Women who are raped should have a right to take Plan B! It is NEVER the raped woman's fault."
On Twitter, one person wrote, "I'm 100% pro-life... from the womb to the tomb. BUT amendment 26 is ludicrous."
Another person tweeted, "I am *very* relieved to see that the people of Mississippi are reasonable and saw sense. Great news."
Some of the social media reactions pointed towards current world conditions in light of rising poverty and population levels.
One commenter tweeted, "Why protect the unborn when the living babies are being killed, beaten, n sold for drugs n prostitution?"
A letter posted to PersonhoodUSA.com following the vote read: "Personhood USA understands that changing a culture - and changing a country - will not happen with one election, and so it is not unexpected. We thank the over one quarter of a million Mississippians who voted for Amendment 26. We vow to continue on this path towards affirming the basic dignity and human rights of all people because we are assured that it is the right thing to do, and we are prepared for a long journey."
The PersonhoodUSA.com letter also said: "We recognize that the right time to end abortion in Mississippi is now, and that is why the citizens of Mississippi will attempt a personhood ballot measure again - and again, if necessary - until every person's life is protected."