American Family Association Promotes Extreme “Personhood Amendment” in Mississippi

After efforts to amend the Colorado constitution to give constitutional rights to embryos and fetuses badly failed in November, advocates of so-called “Personhood Amendments” are now hoping that Mississippi voters will back a similar amendment in 2011. The Colorado proposal, called Amendment 62, “would have banned abortion, many forms of birth control and embryonic stem cell research in the state.” Mississippi activists were able to put a similar measure on the ballot in 2011 to coincide with the gubernatorial election.

Back in 2008, the American Life League began pushing “Personhood Amendments” to become an integral part of the anti-choice movement; however, many Religious Right groups traditionally resisted “Personhood Amendments” because of their radical nature and tremendous unpopularity. Anti-choice groups in Colorado such as National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, Colorado Citizens for Life, and the Colorado Eagle Forum refused to support the “Personhood Amendment.”

Personhood USA, the leading organization behind such measures, likened President Obama to the “Angel of Death,” and activists in Colorado compared pro-choice laws with Nazism.

Now, “Personhood Amendment” proponents will try their luck in Mississippi, which already has strict anti-choice laws, and they are receiving significant publicity and support from a leading Religious Right group: the American Family Association, which is based in Mississippi.

Matt Friedeman of the AFA’s American Family Radio said that if the proposal succeeds in 2011, he hopes it would lead the way to the criminalization of abortion across the country:

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So what we’re hoping for here is that one of these initiatives will be taken all the way to the Supreme Court and they’ll have to decide at that point what to do with it. And hopefully at that juncture we have a pro-life majority, and you never know from year to year to year what’s gonna happen there, but we hope we have a pro-life majority and we hope the day comes when Roe v. Wade is wiped off the books and we can go back to the states. Maybe even, if God would allow, to get a pro-life amendment for the whole country.

Not to be outdone, AFA Director of Issue Analysis Bryan Fischer said that Mississippi’s “Personhood Amendment” will advance his objective of “aligning” the country’s laws with “the word of God:”

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One of the things we look for from our political leaders is we want to see them work to align the public policy of our country with the standards of the word of God, that’s what we want, we want an alignment. We’re not talking about a theocracy where the clergy rules this country; we’re talking about statesmen, both men and women, who are committed as a matter of moral conviction to align the public policy of the United States with the word of God.

As “Personhood Amendment” advocates hope to find a more favorable electorate in Mississippi in 2011, will more Religious Right groups join the AFA in embracing their radical proposals?