By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

JACKSON, Mississippi, January 19, 2010 ( – Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant has lent his support to a state personhood amendment by asking voters to sign a petition to obtain the 90,000 signatures required to have the measure become eligible to be put on the 2010 ballot.

If the referendum were to be successful, Mississippi’s constitution would be amended to say that life begins at “the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

A recorded phone message from Bryant went out to some 12,000 central Mississippi residents last week encouraging them to sign the petition by Feb. 12, and reminding them that, just as they recently celebrated the birth of Christ this Christmas, “Let us remember that every unborn baby deserves a birthday.”

Bryant said that a personhood vote would most likely face a legal challenge, but still said that he was confident of a successful outcome.

“It’s another way of trying to stop abortion in Mississippi and simply allow once and for all the opportunity for the people to say we want to do that and we feel so strongly about it that we want to add it to our Constitution,” he said.

Though he is considering running for state governor in the upcoming election, Bryant told The Clarion-Ledger that his decision to record the message endorsing the ballot initiative had nothing to do with politics, since he has always opposed abortion.

Bryant said that years ago when he was a Sunday school teacher at St. Marks United Methodist Church in Brandon, he would bring in his wife’s sonograms when she was pregnant with their children and show them to the teenagers in his class.

“They weren’t protoplasm; they weren’t some blob. These were children and they could see my son’s fingers and toes, and that child that they were seeing on the television screen could be aborted under Mississippi law,” he said.

The personhood amendment petition signature drive is being organized by Personhood Mississippi. Further information and the petition form is available from the group’s website.

To contact Lt. Governor Phil Bryant:
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
P.O. Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215
Phone: 601-359-3200
Fax: 601-359-4054
Online e-mail form

For more information on nationwide personhood legislation, go here.

See related coverage:

Personhood Amendment Passes Montana Senate

North Dakota House Passes Personhood Bill

Seven States Have Launched Efforts for Personhood Rights for Pre-born – More Expected