The headline accompanying this photo over at CNN.com is What happened to and what’s next for failed personhood measure?
Weirdly, the answer to these questions isn’t simply, “Mississippians cogently explained to other Mississippians what a disaster this policy would be and how this understanding of personhood makes a mockery of biological science.”
Instead, there are three possible answers put forward by the piece:
- People began asking questions about the language of the amendment.
- Media organizations from across the country descended on Mississippi in the week before the election to cover the controversial issue.
- Key figures voiced concerns right before the election.
Now, in making the case for #3, the piece explicitly references #1:
Gov. Haley Barbour in the middle of last week could have been part of what swayed the vote. As the debate about the proposed amendment bubbled to the national level, the fiercely conservative governor came out and did something not many expected: He expressed that he was undecided about the issue, saying it was “too ambiguous.”
Of course, Barbour then publicly said he believes that life begins at conception and intimated that he’d gone ahead and voted based on his belief. Thus, if Mississippians were really concerned about what key figures thought (#3), Barbour was effectively telling them to support the initiative and not to worry about the ambiguous language (#1).
So, then, is it #2? Is CNN saying that the media frenzy (of which it was certainly a part) caused people to rethink what they believed or to change their minds about legislating something like this? If so, how would they demonstrate such a thing? Fear not, they don’t really even try; they’re content to suggest that their presence might have alerted people to #1 and/or #3.
This leads me back to my own position, namely that the people of Mississippi ought to be given more credit by everyone than they have been. I’m perfectly willing to be the first to congratulate Mississippians for coming to what I regard as the right conclusion without any help from me, from the media, or from Haley Barbour.
Whether or not I’m right about that conclusion, it’s interesting to note that the group behind the ballot initiative — Personhood USA — isn’t daunted at all by the fact that Mississippians rejected it. In part, they seem to view the rejection of the initiative as further proof that the group just needs to keep forcing this erroneous conception of personhood on people who have made up their mind that they don’t want it, which seems very much in keeping with the whole tone of Personhood USA:
"We recognize that the right time to end abortion in Mississippi is now, and that is why the citizens of Mississippi will attempt a personhood ballot measure again – and again, if necessary – until every person’s life is protected,” the group said.
So many people in this country didn’t think much of Mississippians before the ballot initiative failed, and interestingly this organization doesn’t think much of Mississippians after it failed either.