Backers of a plan to change the Montana's constitution to define life as beginning at conception say they aren't discouraged that Mississippi voters shot down a similar proposal.

The so-called "personhood" initiative is intended to prompt a legal challenge to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a legal right to abortion. The initiative was rejected Tuesday by voters in Mississippi.

But Montana backers of the idea said Wednesday they remain optimistic despite the defeat in a more socially conservative state.

The personhood proposal failed earlier this year to get past a Republican-controlled Legislature, and backers have failed in previous attempts to gather enough signatures to place the constitutional change directly on the ballot.

Opponents of the effort say they expect it to fail again in Montana.

Associated Press