NV Judge Rewrites Personhood Initiative to Include Possible Effects
District Judge James Wilson Jr. ruled that a fetal personhood ballot initiative in Nevada, which proposes to give constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, is misleading and fails to provide an explanation of its effects on voters, as required by Nevada law. Judge Wilson ruled that the Nevada Prolife Coalition, which filed the initiative, must indicate on the ballot initiative that it "will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to utilize some forms of birth control, including the 'pill'; and to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will affect embryonic stem cell research, which offers potential for treating diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, and others."
In order for the initiative to appear on the Nevada ballot next year, the Nevada Prolife Coalition must collect 72,352 signatures by June. Elisa Cafferata, president and CEO of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates, stated, "Nevadans deserve to know that this initiative seeks to outlaw women's health services like abortion, the birth control pill and treatment for complicated pregnancies, just to name a few. Nearly 20 years ago Nevada voters affirmed the tenets of Roe vs. Wade and a women's right to privacy. Nevadans do not support interfering in women's personal and private decision making."
In November, Mississippi voters defeated the Personhood Amendment by a vote of 58% to 42% with 96 percent of precincts reporting. Anti-abortion and anti-birth control extremists have indicated that they intend to put a similar measure on six state ballots in 2012. So far, reproductive rights supporters have defeated anti-choice state ballot measures in South Dakota, Colorado, and California in 2006 and 2008; in Colorado in 2010, and now Mississippi in 2011.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 12/20/11; Las Vegas Sun 12/19/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/9/11