UPDATE: Miss. abortion initiative lawsuit filed

By Holbrook Mohr/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Abortion opponents who want life defined in Mississippi as beginning at fertilization have filed a lawsuit as part of their effort to get an initiative on a statewide ballot.

Personhood Mississippi has been gathering signatures for the initiative for almost a year. The group has a Feb. 13 deadline to get 89,000 signatures of registered voters.

Personhood attorney Stephen Crampton filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson. He wants clarification of a Mississippi attorney general’s opinion he says contradicts the state constitution.

The opinion suggests the names must be certified by circuit clerks before the deadline, which could take weeks. Crampton says Personhood should be able gather signatures until the deadline, then have them certified.