In Mississippi, there is a ballot petition going around under the name of Personhood Mississippi.

Basically, the voters hope to put it to a referendum and amend the state constitution to define human life as beginning at fertilization and give full legal rights to — I guess — zygotes, embryos and fetuses.

I realize that this is an effort to effectively make abortion illegal in Mississippi, and I believe that induced abortion at any stage is a grave evil.

Something about defining humanity through a ballot initiative, however, rubs me the wrong way.

Maybe it’s because it gives too much power to the god of state. It is no longer, “God says this is life,” but rather, “Mississippi says this is life.”

Then — and this is my real concern — there’s precedent.

If a group of voters can constitutionally define “life” one way, what’s to stop a mobilized group that wants to define it a different way from doing the same thing? At that point, it’s no longer judicial activism legislating evil, but the pure will of the people — 50 percent plus one.

Slippery slope may be considered a logical fallacy, but I happen to believe in it.

EDIT: Apparently, the Diocese of Jackson has released a statement  not endorsing the petition because the bishop thinks it might hinder national efforts to end abortion.