Thank you, Bishop Ward!

The following is a statement from the Reverend Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church. We received this statement by email, but it has also been released to local media outlets. We will link to an authoritative source as it becomes available.

Robust conversations are taking place in many of our churches, well-led by our pastors and laity who seek to engage this issue with faithfulness and with wisdom.

The United Methodist Church has long acknowledged that “the beginning of life and the ending of life are God-given boundaries of human existence.” We are a people who seek abundant and eternal life for all. “Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.”

We also, in observing the world around us, recognize “tragic conflicts of life with life.” We suggest that “governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by informed Christian conscience.” These matters require “thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, family, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.”

The General Conference of The United Methodist Church has not specifically addressed “Personhood” initiatives such as we have before us now in Mississippi. The United Methodist Church through The General Conference, however, has never affirmed that abortion is always wrong, in every circumstance – which is the intent of Initiative 26.

Many of us will vote against Initiative 26, believing it to exclude tragic conflicts in some life situations and to have unintended and unexplored consequences.

Many of us will vote for Initiative 26, believing it to be resonant with the belief that abortion is always wrong.

While I do not support Initiative 26, I recognize that faithful Christians disagree on this matter and that ongoing dialogue is essential in this and all matters that threaten to divide us.

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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67 Responses to Thank you, Bishop Ward!

  1. Luke's Dad says:

    I am a Youth Leader at a UMC and a proud parent thanks for Dr. John Isaac and IVF. I would love to share this with others.

  2. Confused says:

    So you are in favor of allowing the the opportunity to abort any and all pregnancies rather than preventing the abotion of a very few unfortunate circumstances that 26 would allow anyway? Is that a popular opinion or something you prayed about? I don’t see how Christians can have a differing opinion on this!

    • First, it’s not right to punish some people for what other people do. I find it horrifying that you think it’s appropriate to sacrifice the lives and the health of some women in order to stop others from having abortions.

      As a woman who could potentially experience life-threatening complications such as an ectopic pregnancy, I refuse to be told that I can’t have non-surgical treatment just so that some other woman doesn’t have an elective abortion.

      Seriously, how dare you tell women like me, and like Stacey, and like Melissa and Julie and Angela, that it’s okay for us to die just as long as it means nobody will have an elective abortion? How DARE you?

      Second, why don’t you ask our pro-26 commenters like Jenny and the Personhood Initiative guy whether 26 would permit those abortions? Both of them have recently told us that they don’t think personhood would or should permit even life-saving abortions. Why don’t you ask hospitals like St. Dominic’s why they refuse to do abortions, even on women who are nearly dying? If the pro-life side is so clearly behind lifesaving abortion, why do some of you keep telling us otherwise?

      • Confused says:

        St d will do ectopic abortions I am sitting with a lady at this moment that had one there and 26 will allow it as well. But I ask the bishop a question only looking for answers because I am confused but thank you for letting me know what you think which doesn’t really matter to me

      • Pro Life Mississippian says:

        Oh, chill out Atlee. Why must people like you get all hysterical with the “How Dare You” stuff? The scare tactics which you have fallen for are the same ones the pro-abortion crowd used when partial birth abortion was being debated. No one wants women to die, no one wants to ban IVF. These are the kind of straw man arguments the pro-abortion side always fall back on. Why? Because their true position is indefensible. So they create these foils, these hard luck, one-in-a-million scenarios to scare people into supporting their position. What 26 is all about is stopping the slaughter of unborn children through elective abortions. Period. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Don’t be a useful idiot for the other side. You sound like a decent person. Don’t allow yourself to be used.

      • I think it’s entirely fair to get How-Dare-You when I’m told that it’s okay to let women die from pregnancy complications if that’s what it takes to end abortion, and that all Christians should agree on. Seriously, it’s pretty offensive to be told that my family, my fertility, and even my life are all acceptable sacrifices to stop something which has nothing to do with me.

        Ectopic pregnancies aren’t straw men — roughly 1 in 50 pregnancies is an ectopic pregnancy. There are 65,000 ectopics a year in the US. That’s absolutely not a one-in-a-million situation. Neither is preeclampsia, which affects 5% of all pregnancies, or chorioamnionitis. That’s why we print the personal stories of women who’ve actually dealt with them: to make the point that this has happened to someone YOU know.

        As for IVF, I have explained multiple times that Dr. Eric Webb of Yes On 26 has said precisely that, if not in so many words. IVF cannot be practiced under the restrictions he has publicly stated personhood would impose on IVF. Take away embryo freezing and limit fertilization to two eggs, and you have banned IVF, regardless of what it says on your campaign flyers.

        That’s why the only two private infertility physicians (both of whom I know well, and trust) in Mississippi were out on the Capitol steps today as part of Doctors Against MS 26: because it will end their ability to practice. That’s why RESOLVE: the National Infertility Organization, which has nothing at all to do with abortion, opposes 26: because it will end patients’ ability to seek treatment.

      • Tree Tree says:

        The reason that these articles are gaining attention is based off of the fact that there are “Christians” who are going against the grain and voting no on 26. The common thread that I see thoughout these comments on all of the articles is that people are arguing over the fact that this initiative will cause unintended consequences. For example, one of the consequences is that it will make doctors give priority to the baby’s life over the mother’s. That is totally not true. This amendment will give protection to the baby and make its life equal to the mother’s…not give it priority. The doctor will have to give both equal care. Do you think that a doctor will truly let either one die if it is within their ability to avoid it? Of course not!
        Now, let me follow up to that thought with my main motivation for commenting. These articles are based upon Christians standing against 26, but here is my problem with what I have read so far. There are far too many who push aside the real question of when life begins. Instead, they are thinking selfishly about themselves and saying, “what is best for me”, giving no value to the hundreds of lives that will continued to be destroyed. As a Christian, I know that Christ’s teachings tell us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, to give way of ourselves for the good of others, that love does no wrong to a neighbor. I know that it is our nature as people to be selfish, to think of ourselves, but for those of us who are called Christians, our actions should mirror Christ’s, who rocked people’s world by showing them that life is not just about “me, myself, and I”. Read Romans chapters 12-15 for a good reference. So, if we know that life begins at fertilization, then why are Christians even thinking about voting no? We cannot ignore the truth for our convenience! Isn’t a life much more valuable than our convenience?

      • In many circumstances, there comes a point at which the doctor has to prioritize one over the other. For example, if a woman’s waters break prior to the point of viability and she develops an infection, there are only ways to treat it.

        One choice is to immediately induce labor and deliver the baby, knowing that the baby will inevitably die (pre-viability inductions are considered abortions, too). The alternative is to give her antibiotics, possibly even labor-stopping drugs, and try to keep her pregnant until the baby makes it to 24 weeks.

        The first choice prioritizes the mother’s life over the baby’s life. If doctors are required to give equal care to both mother and baby, this should not be allowed.

        The second choice, though, prioritizes the baby’s life over the mother’s. Continuing the pregnancy means that the woman is at a much higher risk of dying than if she were induced immediately. The more you do to save the baby, the more danger the mother is in. In that situation, you don’t have any alternatives that give equal weight to both. You can risk the baby, or you can risk the mother, but you can’t care equally for both.

        If I am a woman facing such a terrible situation, shouldn’t I and my doctors be the ones to decide when my life is in “enough” danger? How do you decide whether any particular abortion is truly life-saving?

        The short answer is that you really can’t, which is why many pro-life hospitals refuse to provide abortions even to women who are in ICU and critically ill, because the fetus still has a heartbeat. This is also why some of our pro-life commenters, such as the Personhood Initiative guy, have told us that life-saving abortions would not be allowed, and that these women would just have to die.

        I don’t think that’s acceptable.

      • To clarify: we have specifically addressed St. D’s, and noted that they perform tubal removal surgery for ectopic pregnancy treatment.

        However, it is also true that they have refused to perform pre-viability inductions of labor on women who are critically ill. I have been told this directly by a doctor who practices at St. D’s and was involved in a specific situation.

        I realize I’m asking you to take my word for it, which is not something I generally like to do. However, you can easily confirm that similar situations occur at other pro-life hospitals across the US.

      • Jeanne Rozman says:

        Thank you Bishop Ward. As a thinking Methodist and concerned about
        women,s reproductive rights, I find Proposition 26 repugnant for a number of reasons. Our state already has the most restrictive laws regarding abortion in the country. Colorado voters wisely voted this type of proposition down. Let us in Mississippi show that we are intelligent enough and caring enough for women,s health to do the same. I am amazed that women and doctors especially are not all coming out against this dangerous and misguided proposal. Vote NO on November 8th on No. 26. Think about the implications of this unscientific and irrational proposition.

    • AbFabGab says:

      Did you miss that whole “let he who is without sin” part of the Bible in regards to casting stones? You can have whatever belief you want, you can interpret your religion however you want, you cannot force it onto others through legislation. If you believe that prayer heals everything, it doesn’t give you the right to deny others medical treatment because it doesn’t square with your personal beliefs.

      You, however, are free to let a life threatening pregnancy kill you. Just don’t try to make that decision for others. You are not their God, and unless you rose from the dead, you are not in a position to tell them what their God thinks of their choice.

      • Confused says:

        Thanks for casting your stones at me even though I never got mine out of my bag. I ask the bishop a question and you have made alot of assumptions from it, but thanks for being so kind as to point out my faults so that I might repent a be delivered from the penalty of my sin.

      • AbFabGab says:

        “I don’t see how Christians can have a differing opinion on this!”

        You say that you don’t see how Christians can have a differing opinion on the medical choices a woman is allowed to make. The Catholic religion would probably support your position, and if you are Catholic, I support your right to believe that a fetus or fertilized embryo and a human life are equally valuable. I don’t agree with it at all, but you should have the right to your beliefs.

        You should not have the right to cast stones at someone and imply that they aren’t a “good” Christian because they have a different opinion and make a medical choice that’s different from yours, and you (and a state legislature) should absolutely not have the right to make it illegal for someone to have the medical treatment of their choice because you don’t agree with it. I’d say you got all your rocks out of the bag.

  3. Mamie Cunningham says:

    Thank you Bishop Ward for taking a stand against an issues that is important to people who want to make that choice for themselves, with the help of God, their family and physician. Thank you for having the courage to make this statment.

  4. Deborah Chatham says:

    Thank you Bishop Ward. As a Christian, a life-long United Methodist, a mother, and a nurse, I have deep beliefs about this issue. Key to my understanding, is my belief that God is infinite and perfect and certainly capable of guiding His people in making deeply personal decisions far better than any “one-size-fits-all” legislation.

    • Yes vote says:

      It’s not a personal decision, it’s a moral decision.

      • 26 isn't clear enough says:

        Not everyone shares the same morals. Not everyone practices the same religion. Isn’t that why we all love America? Because you should be able to practice your life and live it the way you best see fit. Not have the government come in and tell all americans as a whole what they can and can’t do. There are too many loop holes in 26 that will have to be fixed later if it passes. Why not try and come up with an initiative that isn’t quite so vague, then try and get that passed?

      • Shawn says:

        Wrong. Take some sociology classes. Morality is a social standard developed by personal beliefs. Personal beliefs determine your morality. this is a personal decision.

  5. With confused! says:

    It’s real simple to me….you are either for abortion or against it. To be for it in some cases and against it in others is like being almost pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t. How DARE you be so selfish that you would want others to be sacrificed so YOU can have the right to murder your baby at YOUR choosing! That’s ok though…Proverbs 6 doesn’t apply to you I guess. By the way that would be where God HATES hands that shed innocent blood. And please, save your cast the first stone garbage for someone who cares. I’m not casting stones at anyone. I’m inspecting the fruit coming out of your lives, rather mouth. Killing unborn children for ANY reason is murder. You can call it whatever you want so you can justify it and feel better.

    • So that I understand what you’re saying, are you categorizing life-saving abortions (such as ectopic pregnancy) as murder?

      • With confused! says:

        If you take a life for any reason it is murder. It can be justified by whoever took the life but it’s still murder. If you kill a baby in the womb, no matter the reason, rape, incest, don’t want the child, troubled pregnancy, it’s still taking a life. It’s still murder. Call it what you want.

    • Shawn says:

      Prayers for the anger you display here friend. Fortunately God is bigger than any one side of this issue. I would invite you and your zeal for life to join me outside the gates of Parchman Penitentiary next year when Mississippi goes to execute another human being. After all murder is wrong regardless and you people just call it whatever they want to justify it.

      • With confused! says:

        I’ve realized you can’t talk rationally with some folks. Vote how you choose. We’ll see when more than 60% of Mississippians approve 26.

    • Erica says:

      You people DO realize that if the mother dies, the baby will die too, anyway. I hope that every day happens, you will know that you have the blood of TWO people on your hands.

      • MemphisGirlinMS says:

        Erica, the first sentence in your reply has to be the most concise statement I have read yet in this debate. Already-born children would lose a mother, a husband loses his wife, a mother loses her daughter, etc. Does anyone on the “Yes” side realize this fact? Do you even care? When you force a woman to go through with an ectopic pregnancy, at the very least she could lose a tube, ovary, etc. Worst case scenario is death. Is it worth it that my husband sacrifice his wife’s health and end up losing both me and the child? For this reason, our family is voting NO.

      • Crystal Heatherly says:

        Initiative 26 will not prevent appropriate treatment for ectopic or molar pregnancies. If an egg is fertilized and implants in the fallopian tube the baby will die and the mother is also at risk of death. This pregnancy can not be carried to term therefore appropriate action will be taken to save the mothers life. In a molar pregnancy, the embryo doesn’t develop correctly and becomes an abnormal growth. This tissue has no functioning organs and will develope into a baby however the body reacts as if it is pregnant. Appropriate action will be taken in these instances as well. Initiative 26 is being brought forth only to establish personhood.

      • A molar pregnancy doesn’t need functioning organs or the possibility of becoming a baby to be a person, if 26 passes.

        If personhood legally begins at fertilization, a molar pregnancy is a person at one point in time — you have sperm meeting egg and subsequent DNA fusion, which is fertilization. It may not happen “correctly”, but that doesn’t matter. 26 doesn’t require that it contain correct DNA, only that there is fertilization.

        So, when does a molar pregnancy STOP being a person, from a legal perspective?

      • Crystal Heatherly says:

        From what I understand and have read about molar pregnancies it is basically the same as a miscarriage except your body doesn’t try to expell the embryo instead your body continues to think that the embryo is viable and continues to act as if the woman is still pregnant. Under prop 26 life begins at fertilization but that life can be cut short for many reasons that aren’t the fault of the mother. If a woman has a molar pregnancy their is no life, the embry ceases to exist when it turns into tissue instead of remaining embrionic cells.

  6. Leslie says:

    Thank you, Bishop Ward!!!

  7. Forgiven says:

    If abortions had not been legal in the state of Mississippi, I would not have committed murder(had an abortion).

    • AbFabGab says:

      Did the state also have sex with you? Not use a condom? Because not having sex is legal, purchasing a condom or using some form of birth control that prevents pregnancy from occurring in the first place is also legal in all 50 states. Did the state force you to have an abortion? Did a police officer march you into an abortion clinic against your will and tie you down while the procedure was done? Did a state representative hide all information about adoption or abortion alternatives from you?

      Carry your guilt if you want, but it is not the state’s fault that you ended up with an unwanted pregnancy. Unless you were raped, you and the choices you made are the only ones at least 50% responsible for the decision you made.

      This is as ridiculous as someone drinking too much, then crashing their car because they chose to drive drunk and blaming it on the fact that alcohol is legal.

    • Shawn says:

      Sister don’t carry the guilt with you. God has set you free. Folks seem to forget the only hierarchy of sin established in the Bible is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and everything else. Your sins are as forgiven as the person who replied with such hateful language against you. May God grant you the grace and peace He grants all of his children to deal with such deeply tragic and painful memories.

    • Crystal Heatherly says:

      Sweetie, you shouldn’t feel that way. You made a choice that you felt at the time was right. If now you feel that was the wrong choice then give it to God. He forgives us all we have to do is ask. I pray that the Lord will give you comfort and peace about the decision you have made.

  8. Rev Dr says:

    (removed at the request of the commenter)

  9. Sarah says:

    I would like to ask all of the yes on 26 folks, and those signs are everywhere down here on the coast, what is the leading state for teen births in this nation and why is there not safe sex education in MS schools? I listen to all the talk from parents at my daughters schools about no smoking, drinking or doing drugs programs but nothing is ever mentioned about sex. When you call school districts and ask they reply it’s a touchy subject. What I don’t understand is why the connection between dying from chemicals is different from STD’s and HIV. For all the people willing to vote yes on 26 does it not occur to them that teaching safe sex would stop many abortions? I can not think of any good reasons why teaching our youth about safe sex is bad and I would rather take my daughters to buy condoms and birth control pills then to an abortion appointment. However I strongly believe that abortion should be kept available and planned parenthood clinics have more help available then abortions. What scares me is, if there is a vote of yes to 26 then everything they say will not be affected now will be as words get twisted as with many laws interpratation is always different with every human view.

  10. Bruce says:

    Thank you, Bishop Ward! Long ago, one ruler who hated Christians with a passion would invite many Christians from every sect to gather at his palace. He was asked why in the world, if he hated Christians so, would he do such a thing? He responded that no tyrant was nearly as cruel to Christians as they were to each other. The hateful words in this thread following her article is shameful. I’m amazed yet again at how awful followers of Jesus are to each other, and how this kind of cruelty mocks Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Too bad. But I’m so glad that Bishop Ward is humble enough to allow and invite dialogue on this. We could benefit from following her example, no matter how we feel about this initiative. Too bad some of us see this as an opportunity to be rude, arrogant, and haughty. Unbelievable.

  11. Bruce says:

    Having said that, I am also against Initiative 26 for the very reasons the Bishop states. I can be “pro-life” by promoting adoption, pushing for better health-care access for the poor, being a mentor to a child who needs a role-model, share the dangers of promiscuity to young people, and do all I can to make this world more welcoming for a child. And all these ways of promoting the sanctity of life require that I build relationships with those who are poor and those who are in very difficult situations– much, much harder on my time and my wallet than clumsy legislation– but much more effective in the long run. The “Initiative” to greatly reduce the number of abortions should come from our families, our churches, and other groups of people who take “Initiative” to address the deep spiritual and physical needs of people.

  12. Melanie Clement says:

    Bishop Ward- Thank you for your statement regarding this issue. I am proud to have you as my Bishop.

  13. Billy says:

    i think there should only be one judge and that is God…Being a man i could not say what i would do , But i can say that we will all one day be judged and if you feel in your heart something is right for you then would you want to be judged by someone that is unfair and unforgiving .That i think my Jesus my God is not .There is so many reasons not to have one and so many reasons why one could need one that one should look to God and follow there hearth.

  14. Beth Roberts says:

    Point 1: While it is in general agreed that America was founded on Christian principles we might keep in mind that our government requires separation of church and state. Thank God!
    Point 2: Christians differ in their beliefs on many issues. Can you count the number of Christian denominations? There are so many denominations because they disagree on interpretations of the same written text in the Holy Bible, and sometimes because they believe one part should be emphasized over another.
    Point 3: Most laws are passed to protect you from being harmed by someone else’s actions, or lack of action. They are not passed so that everyone is required to make the same choice as you make. Thank God, again! If we must all make the same choices in our lives, I insist that you follow me, instead of me following you.

  15. Jeanne Rozman says:

    Why is my comment “awaiting moderation”? Also the time for the posting is wrong.

    • First-time commenters go to the mod queue, for spam/troll prevention. Once you’ve gotten approved, all subsequent comments will go through I’m usually pretty quick about bouncing them back out, but I’m traveling this weekend. Sorry!

  16. Jeanne Rozman says:

    Life-saving abortions should always be allowed. To allow a woman to die does not make sense. Ms. Breland makes some very good points to think about. If this proposition passes it will cost the state a lot of money in litigation and cause much anguish in families, not to mention court challenges. Abortion is a difficult, sensitive issue which should be a personal decision without government intrusion.

  17. Kristina says:

    To those who are against Initiative 26, I applaud you in doing your research and following both sides of the argument and uderstanding the pros and cons resulting in the actual legslation itself (and for those who have not actually read it,please do, it is only 3 sentences long and states no where all of these “scare tactics” as you call them). It simply states what a “person” should be defined as. The scare tatics that the “no”s are being accused of using are simple, logical facts that will result if this Initiative is passed. So as for Confused and With Confused, please do your homework. This will make it illegal for a woman or child who is raped to carry the product of conception. How could you possibly think that this is not a direct violation of not only their Mississippi Bill of Rights and also the Federal Bill of rights? It clearly states in Artice 3, section 26 that a vicim of a crime shall be treatd with fairness, dignity and respect. How is forcing a woman who had no part/want/ or say so in a rape to be forced to carry such an abomination? Obviously you have never dealt with the aftermath of such crimes. Also, refering back to Article 3, section 6, no state law can conflict with federa law. Please review Roe v Wade; to which Initiative 26 has whole heartedly admited to try and eventually overturn.

    Confused: do some research and get off of that high horse before you get knocked down a peg or two.
    With Confused: Quit jumping on a band wagon of ignorance and being a sheep. Form your own conclusions .

    Furthermore, if murder is murder, I pray you are both Vegans because PETA would be all over you with eating their precious animls.

    Feel free to comment back, as to I have more information to share with you if you remain confused.

    • Crystal Heatherly says:

      You have definitely done your research and I commend you for it. I am a product of a rape that happened 31 years ago. I was carried to term and given up for adoption and the Lord has blessed me with an amazing life. I do not feel that I am an abomination, I am a person, a woman, a mother, a wife, a Christian. Thank you.

  18. kokoamay says:

    When will people learn that you cannot legislate morality. And why and when did the government get the authority to tell a woman what she can do with her ‘own’ body. They are all screaming get the goverment out of our lives, we need less government, but they are trying to get ‘more’ goverment involved in a woman private life. What do they want to do, bring more children into the world so they can deny them health car, let them starve to death, provide no jobs for the parents to care for them, or just find away to kill them after they get here?

  19. TheTruthRevealed says:

    I will vote a resounding NO! Not because I believe in abortion but strictly because I am just like all of you “Conservatives” that are Christians (but it seems that is only important when people want to take away your rights) and I don’t want anyone here to take away my freedom of choice. So I can’t in good conscience take away another person’s freedom of choice. I know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and he has taught me to Love and be show others how to live not attempt to DICTATE/FORCE anyone to live a Holy life. Just think about this question: “With all the power that God has did he FORCE salvation on anyone or does he allow each of us to make a CHOICE?”

  20. Crystal Heatherly says:

    I appreciate your opinion and your convictions on abortion and proposition 26. I am a 31 year old female who was not aborted however I was given up for adoption. My conception was the product of forced sex on a teenager. I am so very thankful that my birthmother saw fit to keep her pregnancy and to give me to a loving christian family. Had it not been for her decision I would not have the amazing life God has given me. I have a wonderful husband and 3 beautiful children. I am definitely voting yes to proposition 26. I however had my doubts at first. After doing many hours of research and spending much time in prayer I was able to make my decision. My main concerns were the same as most others…what about abortion in a life threatening situation, what about IVF, what about Plan B, what about all the gray areas. From everything I read and studied I found NO evidence that proposition 26 would interfere in these situations. The vote is whether life begins at conception or birth. I personally believe that life begins at conception however I also know that in cases of ectopic or molar pregnancies that if action isn’t taken both the mother and the baby will die. This is a case where the course of treatment will be at the mothers discretion. Proposition 26 will not cause the mother to lose her life due to complications in a pregnancy. As far as IVF, fertilized eggs that the parents don’t want to implant will not be thrown away. There are many gray areas from a moral and ethical standpoint of IVF and the legislators know that. The legislators are not out to stop all birthcontrol, IVF, or to let mother’s die due to ectopic pregnancies, they are trying to stop people from disposing of unborn babies just because they didn’t want to be a mom/dad. There are tons of people out there that feel IVF is morally wrong and would love to adopt and raise these children. Just remember when voting to pray about it and vote the way you feel God would have you vote. Thanks.

    • What exactly do you require as evidence? Is it not enough that Beverly McMillan and Eric Webb and Keith Mason have all specifically said in public interviews that 26 would place restrictions on IVF? The latter two have even detailed those restrictions (no freezing, attempting to fertilize no more than two or three eggs).

      Or do you not believe that those restrictions would make it impossible for physicians to provide IVF in Mississippi? If not, well, I’ve explained that in detail too.

      • Crystal Heatherly says:

        I do not believe those restrictions would make it impossible for IVF in Mississippi. The statements put out by Dr. Webb and his colleagues as well as statements put out by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy (nonpartisan) do not support the notion that there will be a ban on IVF.
        I have many friends who have done IVF and they have beautiful families and I understand that you have gone through infertility as well and your choice was IVF. I am not knocking you and do not mean to insult you or step on your toes when I say that I personally do not like IVF. I don’t judge anyone that has done it I am very happy for my friends that have been successful with it I love them and I especially love all their beautiful children. When my husband and I decided to have a family we prayed long and hard about our decisions and how we would handle infertility if placed in that situation. After many hours of prayer our convictions were strong that if we had infertility issues adoption would be our only option. Because of my belief that life begins at fertilization I also believe that if I were doing IVF then I would be freezing lives and studies show that many embryos do not survive the cryogenic preservation. I feel that I would purposely be putting the lives of my possible children at risk. I also understand the reasons for fertilizing so many eggs due to the expense and success rates, but in my belief I would not want to extract, fertilize, and implant more than 3 eggs at a time. If life begins at fertilization then disposing of unused embryos would be considered genocide however many offices are not disposing of the embryos, they are saving them for later implantation or adopting them out to other couples. Once again I do completely understand your convictions and I am very happy that God has blessed you through IVF. I feel convicted otherwise as do many others about these controversial topics.

      • Here’s what else Dr. Eric Webb had to say about IVF:

        “If the amendment passes, human experimentation on embryos will end along with the practice of freezing embryos. IVF labs will limit the number of egg(s) fertilized to the number of embryos they are willing to transfer in a single cycle.”

        (You’ll note that those are official Yes talking points.)

        Do you not believe that those restrictions would end IVF? And if not, can you explain how IVF physicians would be able to practice under conditions which constitute serious risks to the health of women with OHSS, and which result in pregnancy rates in the low single digits at a cost of $10-15K a pop?

      • And, for the record, I respect your decision that you would not pursue IVF if infertility happened to you.

        However, it DID happen to me. My husband and I spent a lot of time in thought and prayer to decide what we should do, and our answers were different than yours.

        I respect your right to make a different decision, but your side wants to take my options away from me.

    • L F Garner says:

      thanks Crystal for your comment….I was sitting on the fence and your statement helped me to get off the fence and make a decision.

    • Nicole Bradshaw says:

      Crystal – In response to your statement on the research you’ve done to find out how initiative 26 may or may not affect the treatment of life-threatening pregnancies, options for infertile couples and availability of birth control, I was wondering if you could helpfully link to the factual, impartial information you discovered? From what I’ve been able to understand, WE DON’T KNOW the potential impacts of the initiative. If it is indeed passed, decisions about all of these matters will be left up to the Mississippi lesiglature and the state court system. This uncertainty and government intrusion into the privacy of its citizens is one of the primary concerns I’ve noticed when talking to fellow Mississippians regarding this measure. Even the “yes” campaign is finally beginning to acknowledge that, if this initiative passes, we won’t know the full outcomes until much later, as evidenced by their comments to a recent reporter from Fox News:

      • Crystal Heatherly says:

        I would be glad to give you the link that helped me make my final decision. I read and searched so many websites but this one really explained it all for me. It was put out by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy and it discusses all of the legal jargon as well as the laws that are already in place on the matter.
        This document only answers questions about the topics from a legal standpoint not from the standpoint of a “yes” or a “no” point of view.

      • Nicole Bradshaw says:

        Crystal – I have seen this document before. I would note, however, that this document is not a guarantee regarding what will or will not happen if inititiative 26 is passed. It is a legal opinion, one of many legal opinions that may be submitted and discussed when the state legislature and the court systems decide for the citizens of Mississippi how this amendment will be legislated. What the writers of this brief put forth is their position on how the amendment may be interpreted. It is an argument, not a fact. This document is no guarantee to the citizens of this state regarding what rights may or may not be impacted by initiative 26.

        Though they have put forth their thoughts/hopes regarding supporting legislation, even the managers of the “yes” campaign have admitted that they do not know what the final outcomes of this initiative may be. For me, placing my health, my medical privacy, and the rights of Mississippi families to make their own decisions in the hands of our state legislature and court system is unacceptable.

    • Your Neighbor in Louisiana says:

      I am one of two living children. My mother lost her oldest son at the age of four; she had a miscarriage, and a stillbirth. She has never had, nor contemplated an abortion. She was and is pro-choice. I have to admit, I’m curious–did you meet your birth mother? How much of her choice was her own; if she’d chosen otherwise, would she have been allowed to carry through with an abortion?

      I suspect a great many couples with infertility are against 26 because they are pro-life, and realize that this heavy-handed law would result in big government intruding into their most intimate decisions without the benefit of compassion, intelligence, or regard for the outcome.

      Nobody against 26 is saying you don’t deserve to exist. We’re saying it’s not your right to make decisions for others. You know what is best for you; you have no idea what is best for a stranger you’ll never even meet.

      A woman who is pregnant from a rape would not only be forbidden to abort; it’s highly unlikely that she could be treated with drugs for insomnia, depression, or PTSD–those drugs are not approved for pregnant women. If she drinks or smokes, or, in the absence of sedatives and anti-depressants, uses illegal drugs to self-medicate her symptoms, she won’t be judged as a drug abuser–she’ll be charged with child endangerment.

      If a judge in a court of law finds that she is endangering her pregnancy, she could be jailed or committed, and forced to participate in a regimen of treatment in which she has no control over. The state will appoint an advocate for her pregnancy. She will have no representation.

      I can tell you with 100% certainty that the trauma of nine months spent like that would cause me, personally, more harm than the rape.

      Pro-life women have been horrified to find that, for example, they would be forced to undergo a pre-term C-section because a hospital considered itself legally obligated to advocate for the child, and disregard the family’s wishes to try to extend the pregnancy. Women whose children have literally died inside them are given the choice to wait for or induce labor, instead of being allowed to use much safer “late-term abortion” procedures on a child who is already dead.

      This law will have more consequences than the automatic yea-voters realize.

      • Crystal Heatherly says:

        To answer your question, yes I met my birthmother about 10 years ago. She was sexually assaulted and raped by her nextdoor neighbor when she was 15…he was 25. She had no desire to have an abortion even though it was presented to her as an option. She knew that at 16 she would not be able to adequately support a baby and her father was disabled and there wouldn’t be any financial help from her parents. She told me on many occasions that her heart ached for me for 20 years but she knew that I was in good hands. I know that you aren’t saying I don’t deserve to exist but if you will read earlier in the thread someone made a derrogatory remark at how the product of rape was an abomination. That remark is what triggered me to write my story. To show that good came come from an evil act and that God has a good and perfect plan for everyone.

  21. Supposedly saving a life with a life says:

    Cant wrap my head around the thinking that its ok to kill an unborn child if it will save the mothers life. But do the same folks that support that idea think it would be ok to kill a child that is , say, a day old to save a mom’s life? Hypothetically? Say the mom needs bone marrow or some other unrealistic life saving need(from an infant), it would be ok , RIGHT?? Or how about when the child is 15 and mom needs a heart and its a perfect match? So, if Bishop Hope believes life begins at conception , when is it EVER ok to take a life to save mom?!?

    • VotingNO says:

      To follow your logic – There are many sick Mississippians in need of kidney transplants. I myself have two healthy kidneys. Is it within the government’s rights to compel me to donate one of my healthy kidneys to one of the people on the transplant list? After all, I can live with only one kidney. And those on the transplant list may die without my kidney.

      So, though it presents significant health risks to me, and though I may not want to donate my kidney to another human being, should the government be in the position to force me to do so? Does my body belong to me, or does it belong to the government? Do I have the right to make choices regarding the preservation of my own life and my own health, or not?

    • Crystal Heatherly says:

      Read this starting on page 4. It states the principle of double effect and how it is legal to “kill” in self defense. If a mother’s life is being threatend due to a pregnancy whether it is ectopic or if she was diagnosed with life threatening cancer and the treatments would kill the baby she can not be prosecuted for aborting the pregnancy. Her life was at risk and she used self defense to save her own life.

  22. L F Garner says:

    OK I am getting really irritated here. Supposedly saving a life with a life’s statement is just crazy!
    A 15 yr old is not dependant on survival by the mom’s body. A baby developing inside the mom is not gonna survive if the mom is dying (unless the baby is fully developed and can live outside). So do you just let both baby and mom die or do you choose to let the mom live by taking away the life threathing condition that has developed because of the pregnancy so that she can continue to take care of the children she may already have. It is crazy to choose to let the mom die just because of a law. All these examples of a day old infant and a 15 yr old is just crazy and has nothing to do with this. Once the child is no longer dependant on the mother’s body then that is a whole other story. Think about if you had a daughter pregnant and the doctor tells you that it is either save your daughter by taking the baby or lose both of them….what would you choose???? I would choose my daughters life without hesitation….
    We should not even be talking about this….this is not the issue. All this bill is doing is saying when life begins…it begins at conception…..I do believe that!!
    And for me…until the baby can live outside away from the mothers body then the mothers life is more important and comes first. But really….shouldn’t we leave all this in God’s hands. Go to our Father in prayer for the right decision to be made.

  23. Confused says:

    That’s what I thought

    • Before you make three nagging posts within 10 minutes, you might want to consider that perhaps I was ASLEEP. To answer your question, I think that the best way to eliminate abortion is to promote access to reliable birth control, and educate women and girls about making good decisions. One of the major reasons I opposed 26 was precisely because of the potential impact on birth control.

  24. Confused says:


  25. Confused says:

    So what is the plan to save the 3000 babies that are electively aborted in ms every year. All the no’s I talked to are pro life conservatives. If both sides would pit forth as much effort to stopping abotions as they did I26. Just wondering If anybody has a plan or are you really prolife