The Pro-Life Defeat That Wasn’t

The morning after this month’s relatively quiet Election Day, I read story after story about a major pro-life defeat. “Mississippi Wins for Women!” The Daily Beast exclaimed. “Birth Control Remains Legal: Mississippi Voters Reject Draconian ‘Personhood’ Initiative,” declared the National Organization for Women. “Our victory in Mississippi has already sent a strong message to extremists who will stop at nothing to outlaw abortion. If we stand together, we can stop the escalating assault on reproductive rights,” the American Civil Liberties Union proclaimed. 

Mississippi’s personhood initiative, which sought to amend the Magnolia State’s constitution to define “person” to “include every human being from the moment of fertilization,” had lost at the ballot box. But if this was a pro-choice victory, it was a pyrrhic one. Pro-life voters played an integral role — in a pro-life state, no less — in the defeat of the amendment. Moreover, this was a defeat actually welcomed by many reliable pro-life activists around the country, concerned, among other things, that it would invite the Supreme Court to double down on Roe v. Wade, almost 40 years after the landmark decision that invented a right to privacy and codified a cultural revolution.

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