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Writing about the recent personhood amendment in Mississippi, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says that when faced with the central logic of the pro-life movement many people “who considered themselves pro-life balked, blinked, and ran for cover.”

When voters in Mississippi voted down the human personhood amendment last week, they sent a clear and undeniable message — the pro-life movement is not as pro-life as it thinks it is. The truth is that, even in what may be the most pro-life state in the union, the most basic moral logic of the pro-life movement is not fully embraced or understood.

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Unless the unborn child is recognized as a person at every point in its development, we are just negotiating our own arbitrary definition of human personhood and human life. The pro-life movement rightly recognized Harry Blackmun’s trimester approach to be deadly to the unborn and disastrous to the cause of human dignity. But the defeat of the personhood amendment in Mississippi indicates that voters there just operate out of a more conservative version of Blackmun’s logic. Given the opportunity to declare the human personhood of every individual from the moment of fertilization onward, voters overwhelmingly said “No.”

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