Four anti-choice groups released a statement last week opposing a personhood initiative petition that is currently gathering signatures in Nevada. The measure in question would extend due process rights to “everyone possessing a human genome.” The statement says that the proposed “amendment will harm the Pro-Life movement by giving pro-abortion courts more power to decide all matters relating to abortion, such as parental notification, informed consent, and taxpayer funding of abortion. These matters should be decided by the elected representatives of the people–state legislatures and Congress, not the unelected courts.”
Conservative group Personhood Nevada originally filed the ballot initiative with the secretary of state’s office,” in October. In order for the 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 Las Vegas Sun, a lawsuit was filed in district court that aims to prevent the measure from being placed on the ballot. This suit claims the petition violates the “core principles of the single-subject rule by proposing multiple unrelated and sweeping changes to Nevada law, while utterly failing to give voters notice of these changes.”
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.