Efforts to Protect the Unborn Not Set Back By Defeat of Personhood Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said Wednesday that the “long and noble legal precedent for the personhood of unborn children did not suffer harm by the defeat of the ballot initiative in Mississippi. This measure would not have led to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but had a symbolic appeal for pro-life Americans. It was not drafted in such a way that it would conflict with Roe.”
Dr. Yoest made the following observations about the hotly contested initiative:
“Once again we witnessed the willingness of the abortion lobby to fight with every dollar it possesses, with half-truths and with mud-against-the-wall tactics, misrepresenting the real impact of personhood as an issue under the law. The loss has no immediate implications as the initiative restricted what the government could do, not what individuals could do. The measure would have restrained government actions – government-funded abortions – and not abortions conducted by individuals or enterprises such as Planned Parenthood.
“The unborn child as a person under the law, who can be recognized in civil and criminal statutes, is a tradition stretching back to English law. Today, 38 states have wrongful death statutes so that grieving parents have a means of addressing the loss of a child in civil courts, and 37 states have fetal homicide laws on the books that carry criminal penalties. AUL has been on the forefront of these efforts as a source of model legislation for the two-pronged protections and recognitions of the personhood of the unborn.
“Pro-life Americans celebrated a significant number of successes during state legislative sessions this year. AUL’s campaign to accumulate victories through strategic legislative gains led to 28 pieces of legislation alone. Despite the loss in Mississippi, a number of new pro-life pieces of legislation have taken their place in the law in defense of life.
“In Mississippi, abortion advocates confused voters with the impact, breadth and legal abstractions of this issue, which was vulnerable to attack in part because of its complex legal realities. But the importance of the recognition of the humanity of a child in the womb will not falter as a result of this vote.”