Strict anti-abortion plan rejected in Mississippi


Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss.

Mississippi voters Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative that would have declared life begins at conception, a proposal that supporters sought in the Bible-Belt state as a way to prompt a legal challenge to abortion rights nationwide.

The proposal was pushed by a Colorado-based group, Personhood USA. The group’s co-founder, Keith Mason, says he intends to renew efforts in Mississippi, either through legislation or through another ballot initiative.

The group is trying to put similar initiatives on 2012 ballots in Ohio, Florida, Montana, Oregon, Nevada and California. Mason said the group plans to pursue life-at-fertilization legislation next year in Alabama, Wisconsin and Michigan.

In Mississippi, the measure deeply divided the medical and religious communities.

In two gubernatorial races in the U.S., Kentucky’s Democratic governor won another term Tuesday, and Mississippi voters kept their governor’s office in GOP hands — decisions that suggested many Americans were not ready to abandon incumbent parties, despite the nation’s economic woes.

The governors’ races were of keen interest to both parties. Ten states will elect governors next year, and governors can marshal get-out-the-vote efforts crucial to any White House candidate. The first presidential primary is Jan. 10 in New Hampshire.

In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear was easily re-elected despite high unemployment, budget shortfalls and an onslaught of third-party attack ads. He became the second Democrat to win a governor’s race this year, after West Virginia’s Earl Ray Tomblin.

In Mississippi, voters were picking a new governor to succeed Haley Barbour, who could not run again because of term limits. Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant defeated Democrat Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree, the first black major-party nominee for governor in Mississippi.

Other votes of note in races across the U.S.:

Hundreds of cities had mayoral races, including some of the nation’s largest. In San Francisco, interim Mayor Ed Lee was headed to become the city’s first elected Asian-American leader.

In Philadelphia, Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter trounced a little-known Republican challenger named Karen Brown, a former math teacher and Democrat who switched parties to challenge the incumbent.

Phoenix residents elected Democrat Greg Stanton, a former city council member, as its new mayor after a campaign focused on pulling the nation’s sixth-largest city out its economic and foreclosure slump.

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