If the Mississippi amendment passes, the moment an egg is fertilized a woman would not be able to get an abortion in the state.(CNN) -- Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour offered his support Friday for an amendment to the state constitution that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception, saying he cast his absentee ballot for the measure despite struggling with its implications.
"I have some concerns about it," he said in a statement issued Friday, a day after casting his ballot. "But I think all in all, I believe life begins at conception, so I think the right thing to do was to vote for it."
On Wednesday, Barbour, a Republican, said that he was still undecided and that the measure was "too ambiguous."
Initiative 26 would define personhood as "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."
Though the text of the amendment is simple, the implications if it passes couldn't be more complex. If approved by Mississippi voters on Tuesday, it would make it impossible to get an abortion and hamper the ability to get some forms of birth control.
Because the amendment would define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights, it could have an impact on a woman's ability to get the morning-after pill or birth control pills that destroy fertilized eggs, and it could make in vitro fertilization treatments more difficult because it could become illegal to dispose of unused fertilized eggs. This could lead to a nationwide debate about women's rights and abortion while setting up a possible challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which makes abortion legal.
The ballot initiative is part of a national campaign brought by Personhood USA. The Colorado-based group describes itself as a nonprofit Christian ministry that "serves the pro-life community by assisting local groups to initiate citizen, legislative, and political action focusing on the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement: personhood rights for all innocent humans."
Mississippi voters can decide 'personhood' of the unborn, court rules:
The idea for personhood was born during Roe v. Wade's oral arguments, when Justice Potter Stewart said, "If it were established that an unborn fetus is a person, you would have an impossible case here." Now, Personhood USA is trying to use the amendment to establish "personhood" as a direct challenge to the Roe v. Wade ruling.