WASHINGTON, D.C., November 8, 2011 ( – Mississippi voters will head to the polls today to decide on a proposal that the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has called “extreme and radical”: whether every human life is a “person” from the moment of conception. reported last week that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-CA), elected chairman of the DNC by President Obama, said the constitutional amendment on the Mississippi ballot should be rejected by pro-life and pro-abortion advocates alike.

“For the vast majority of Americans, including people on both sides of the abortion issue, this is an extreme and radical step,” she said. Schultz told reporters on a conference call that personhood amendments are “divisive, dangerous, and destructive laws which would cripple a woman’s right to choose, limit access to birth control, and put the lives of women with difficult pregnancies at risk.”


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The chairwoman also said she would work to dissuade Florida citizens from signing a petition for a similar personhood amendment that would appear on the 2012 ballot.

Although the personhood effort is controversial among pro-life leaders, with some fearing that the inevitable court challenge against the measures could hurt the effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, it has achieved wide popularity elsewhere, including among the public and politicians in Mississippi: personhood leaders report that only one lawmaker in the state has expressed opposition to the measure. Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant, who is also running for governor, is the co-chair of the state’s personhood coalition, while an overwhelming number of other lawmakers also actively support the measure.

While Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour had initially expressed doubts about the amendment, he cast his vote in favor of it via an absentee ballot on Friday.

“I think all in all, I know I believe life begins at conception. So I think the right thing to do was to vote for it,” he said.