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Personhood Protesters Tell Lawmakers, No Means No

By Daniel Cherry | Published 01 Mar 2012 06:56pm | comments

Opponents of measures in the Mississippi legislature that would define life as beginning at conception are telling lawmakers no means no. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how a similar constitutional amendment failed in November, and opponents say it should fail again.

Members of an organization called No Means No, a group of anti personhood advocates, rallied at the Captiol yesterday opposing legislation that proposes life beginning at fertilization. Laurie Roberts is a mother of 6 who says she nearly died while having a miscarriage years ago because the hospital she went to wouldn't abort the fetus until it no longer had a heartbeat. Now she's concerned about that policy going statewide.

"If your whole state says your embryo is more valuable than your life, then what do you do aside from die? I don't know. What do women do besides hemorrhage to death?"

Last November, voters rejected a similar ballot initiative with 58 percent of the vote. Supporters of the new legislation, like Terri Herring the National Director of the Pro Life America Network, say voters were concerned about broad language in the initiative. Herring says the new legislation cleans up those concerns.

"I think when you say no means no, no means no to what question? And the question was: 'We're confused. We're not sure what this would do. We need clarification.' That's what our lawmakers are for."

Herring and a small group of counterprotesters stood opposite to the No Means No rally to show support for the legislation. Whitney Barkley is an organizer for No Means No. She says the legislature shouldn't get involved.

"Then they can gather the 100,000 signatures and put the new language back on the ballot, but to circumvent the will of the people of Mississippi by trying to push it through the legislature when we voted it down in November is completely unacceptable. It's democracy 101. The people have spoken."

Both camps are awaiting action from lawmakers on the personhood issue. Until then, the fierce battle is likely to continue.

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