Bishop Gray of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi opposes 26

The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, the Right Reverend Duncan M. Gray III, has announced his opposition to Initiative 26.

My dear friends,

My deep reservations about abortion and the death penalty grow out of my abiding belief in the sanctity of human life and the arbitrary nature of these actions. I am not, however, a pacifist in regards to war. I do believe that some very serious moral decisions are not simply choices between good and evil, but rather in the case of two evils, choices between the lesser of two evils. Such is the complexity of human moral decision-making in a fallen world.

I appreciate the intentions of those who have supported Proposition 26, what has been called the Personhood Amendment. I share their passion for the sanctity of human life. However, I am gravely concerned about the unintended consequences of this legislation. The moral nightmares of doctors no longer able to give preference to saving the life of the mother in such cases as an ectopic pregnancy and the uncertain impact on in-vitro fertilization are real. Thus, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Medical Association has announced that it cannot support this legislation.

The legal nightmares arising from this legislation are also very real. The word “person” is used over 9,400 times in the Mississippi Annotated Code and the implications for mass confusion and decades of legal challenges over every use of the term are staggering.

For their own reasons, Roman Catholic bishops in several states, including Mississippi, have said they could not support this particular legislation.

While I recognize the complexities of such moral decisions and the need for each of us to make our own informed and prayerful choices, you need to know that I share the aforementioned concerns about the unintended consequences of this legislation. Thus, I cannot support Proposition 26 on the November 8th ballot in Mississippi.

Please feel free to share this letter with whomever you wish.


The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, III

About Atlee Breland

I'm a Mississippian, a Christian, a computer programmer, a wife, and -- thanks to infertility treatment -- a mother of three wonderful children.
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9 Responses to Bishop Gray of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi opposes 26

  1. E B says:

    Unfortunately for the unborn, ectopic pregnancies are non-survivable events for them, therefore, the question of saving the life of the mother in these instances are moot.
    Ectopic pregnancies will remain treatable, and saddening, events for those mothers who are unfortunate enough to experience them.

  2. Nicole Bradshaw says:

    EB – I would note that, in addition to ectopic pregnancies, there are other reasons that a pregnancy might be life-threatening to the mother. If the mother should already have another, treatable illness that she is undergoing treatment for, treatment that is detrimental to the fetus, what then? Once this matter is in the hands of the Mississippi legislature and court system, who will make that decision? And how? And do you trust that it will be in the best interest of the family involved?

  3. E B says:

    So, is that a concession that ectopic pregnancies are no longer a consideration for voting against the amendment? If so, I can then move onto other topics to change the hearts and minds of Mississippians. Also, please see the following article, but be very aware that it is an EXTREMELY difficult read:
    This article was not written by a Mississippian.

  4. Nicole Bradshaw says:

    I concede nothing, EB. My point is only that the amendment puts it all on the table for interpretation by the court system and the Mississippi legislature. That’s not a risk that I’m willing to take with my body and my health.

  5. E B says:

    So, you would prefer the slaughter and sale of innocents than to possibly give up your right to certain methods of birth control. How extremely selfish and shortsighted of you.

  6. Nicole Bradshaw says:

    I said nothing about birh control, EB. I only noted that pregnancy and delivery often have life-threatening impacts on women. In those cases, the proposed amendment would leave the decision about which life was worth saving to the Mississippi legislature and court system. I don’t trust them to make the best choices for the families of Mississippi.

    And, incidentally, I must say that I applud Atlee for leaving dissenting comments posted on this site. At the “vote-yes-now-without-thinking” site, they don’t even allow comments. And on the “vote-yes-now-without-thinking” Facebook page, they delete the comments of posters who disagree with them. It doesn’t exactly inspire my trust in their campaign.

  7. As I have explained to you at length, E B, the principal question isn’t just about whether ectopic pregnancies are treatable, but HOW they may be treated, and when (i.e. upon discovery vs waiting for threatened rupture).

    I firmly believe that methotrexate and salpingotomy ought to remain available treatments for ectopic pregnancy treatment. Personhood Colorado/Personhood USA does NOT agree with this, and neither do other pro-life groups who support personhood amendments. Given that there is dissent within the pro-life movement itself, and that some of this dissent comes from the very groups backing 26, I think it’s incredibly questionable which side the legislature and judiciary will take.

    The health, fertility, and lives of women with ectopic pregnancies are not acceptable collateral damage for ending elective abortion.

  8. Informed says:

    E B, you are EXACTLY right. Doctors and family members make the decision to “pull the plug” on PERSONS all of the time in Mississippi. This amendment will not affect instances of medical emergency. Like E B said, it’s a moot point that I cannot believe people are arguing about. This amendment will not make a fertilized egg a MORE important person, just a person.

    • There is a difference between ceasing to provide a treatment and taking a deliberate action for the sole purpose of ending a life. Doctors are permitted to “pull the plug”, but they are not permitted to euthanize terminally ill patients. The ultimate outcome is the same, but the law forbids the latter.

      Similarly, there is strong reason to believe that forms of ectopic pregnancy treatment which spare womens’ lives and fertility would be affected by personhood. Personhood Colorado, for example, says that the only personhood-compatible treatment for ectopic pregnancy is tubal removal surgery. In our view at Parents Against MS 26, this is not acceptable.