NAP Applauds Mississippi Voters’ Rejection of “Personhood” Amendment

NO on 26

Mississippi ballots have been cast and tallied, and for now, there will be no amendment to the Mississippi state constitution that would have defined ‘personhood’ as beginning at the moment of conception. The National Atheist Party applauds the Mississippians who erred on the side of reason and bolstered the reproductive rights of women.

The text of Ballot Initiative 26 would have defined ‘personhood’ as “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof”. Although the amendment would only change the current constitution by a few words, the implications are far reaching. Birth control options, abortion right, ectopic pregnancies, and in-vitro fertilization would all be affected by such a measure. The National Atheist Party is a strong and open supporter of women and their reproductive rights. Our charter states that, “the ultimate decision to proceed with a pregnancy or to terminate it rests with the individual woman. Government should play no role in deciding such an individual choice. It is our position that legislation inhibiting a woman’s right to choose is based on religious concerns of morality and conception […]”.

The ballot initiative is part of a national campaign brought by Personhood USA, which seeks to assert a theocratic christian influence into state politics. The group’s priority is legislation and advocating citizens to campaign for constitutional amendments to redefine ‘personhood’ counter to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade wherein the majority opinion stated that a fetus is not a person. Although this has been a victory for Mississippi, Personhood USA has this year alone helped to have this type of ‘personhood’ amendment introduced, approved in committee, or passed by one chamber of the state legislature in several states.

The National Atheist Party believes that such ‘personhood’ amendments give far too much control over women’s reproductive rights. The National Atheist Party is a political organization dedicated to constitutional principles, among them the separation of church and state; therefore , we oppose this and similar legislation that would push a religious agenda into the personal choices of citizens.

Bridget Gaudette
Deputy Vice President of Outreach


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