SOUTHAVEN, MS (KAIT) – Tomorrow voters in Mississippi will vote on Amendment 26, an amendment that establishes the term 'personhood,' to mean that life begins at the moment of fertilization.
One Region 8 resident is working to get a similar amendment on the Arkansas ballot in 2012.
Eight-year-old Wisconsin native Julia Storms was in Desoto County, MS with her family to campaign for Amendment 26. The amendment would outlaw abortion in the state. The amendment reads:
"The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof." This initiative shall not require any additional revenue for implementation.
When asked why abortion is wrong, Storms said, "Because they're innocent and they're people."
Blytheville native and Personhood Arkansas president Preston Dunn was in Southaven to support Personhood Mississippi. "I have a passion for the unborn. I think it's inherently wrong that we take the life of our unborn children," he said.
Dunn is in the process of drafting a similar amendment for Arkansas residents to vote on in 2012. "We have some language we can speak about in Arkansas because this is coming to Arkansas."
Personhood Mississippi volunteers compare the historic vote to slavery in the United States. "Just as at one time African Americans were not considered people, someone had to make that right," said Gail Giaramita.
Personhood Arkansas is a chapter of Personhood USA, headquartered in Colorado. The organization is "working to respect the God-given right to life by recognizing all human beings as persons who are "created in the image of God" from the beginning of their biological development, without exceptions," according to the web site.
Dunn said like Amendment 26, the proposed Arkansas amendment will protect unborn children. "I heard a guy say, 'If you're the son or daughter of a rapist do you deserve to die?' I think not."
He said the proposed amendment would not affect contraception or put mothers at risk. "Right now we know that sometimes in order to save the mother that it results in the child not living," he said.
Julia's father Jason said he and his wife brought their four children to Southaven because they understand a simple issue better than many adults. "They look at a picture of what takes place inside of an abortion clinic, and my children will say, 'Why did they hurt the baby?'"
Dunn will continue to support the initiative regardless of what voters decide in Mississippi. "We do get some of the head nods and some of the other things that I can't mention on camera."
The CDC reports 827,609 abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2007, down 2% in 2006. Women 20–29 years old accounted for 57% of the abortions.
The Arkansas Department of Health reports 4,532 induced abortions occurred in the state in 2010. 3,937 of the abortions were performed on people who live in Arkansas.