A Nevada judge ruled that a "personhood" amendment petition can not be circulated because it is too vague and violates a state law that limits the ballot measure questions to one subject. The measure in question would have extended due process rights to "everyone possessing a human genome." According to the Associated Press, three plaintiffs represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood challenged the measure in court. Carson City District Court Judge James Russell ruled from the bench after about two hours of arguments. He said, "the issue to me is, are we adequately informing voters on what they're voting on," according to the Associated Press.
Conservative group Personhood Nevada originally filed the ballot initiative with the secretary of state's office, in October 2009. Petitioners would have needed to obtain 97,002 valid signatures to have placed the measure on the 2010 ballot. Four anti-choice groups released a statement in November 2009 that indicates their opposition to the proposed amendment because it will give more power to the "pro-abortion courts."
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." The laws 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, 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.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 11/23/09; Associated Press 1/8/10, 1/8/10
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .