Mississippi will hold several hearings this week on various initiatives on the state’s 2012 ballot — one of which is the so-called “Personhood” amendment.

According to the Natchez Democrat, the Mississippi secretary of state’s office will host nine upcoming public hearings on three issues — eminent domain, voter identification and definition of “personhood” — that will soon appear on the November ballot.

Under Mississippi state law, public hearings are required for ballot initiatives, but those focusing on “personhood” could prove to be especially divisive. Though some “personhood” proponents argue their goal is simply to ban abortion, critics say that, if passed, the amendment could outlaw some birth control and lead to criminal penalties for women seeking abortions (rather than just the doctors who perform them).

Criticism of the “personhood” movement led many Florida lawmakers, and even conservative anti-abortion groups, to distance themselves from a similar initiative in the Sunshine State.

In Mississippi, however, the initiative hasn’t been lacking in terms of support. Lt. Gov. (and current gubernatorial candidate) Phil Bryant told a radio host that he wholeheartedly supports the “fetal personhood” movement — and that other Christians should, too.

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