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Mississippi voters on Tuesday rejected a controversial "personhood" ballot initiative that would have declared that life begins at conception.
The Associated Press reports that the initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted. Despite the defeat, the abortion opponents who pushed the effort say they will press on with similar initiatives in a half dozen other states.
The primary goal of the pro-life activists behind the effort was to bar all abortions in the state, as well as the kinds of birth control that affect fertilized eggs. But the initiative would have also had much more profound legal implications, branding abortion as murder and raising the possibility that doctors and even expectant women could be prosecuted for ending pregnancies.
Personhood USA, the Colorado-based group behind the Mississippi measure, is also trying to put similar initiatives on the 2012 ballots in Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, and California. The organization’s co-founder, Keith Mason, told the AP that the group would also consider making another push in Mississippi.