Conservative group Personhood Nevada, led by Richard Ziser, has filed a ballot initiative with the secretary of state’s office that would outlaw abortion. If passed, the initiative would extend due process rights to “everyone possessing a human genome,” the Associated Press reports.
In order for this initiative to reach the ballot, petitioners must obtain the signatures of at least 10 percent of registered voters that voted in the last general election, or 97,002 signatures, according to the Nevada Secretary of State. Ziser, who successfully led the ballot initiative to define a Nevada marriage as between a woman and a man, could not be reached for comment, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.
Abortion opponents have pushed these so-called “personhood initiatives” in several states. These measures declare that a fertilized egg is a “person” who enjoys “inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of the law.” They would threaten not only abortion itself, but IUDs, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research. In the 2008 elections, Colorado’s Amendment 48 (see PDF), failed by 73 to 27 percent. In addition to failing in Montana, petition drives for similar initiatives ultimately failed in Georgia, Oregon, and Mississippi for the 2008 elections.