The Florida Secretary of State's office approved ballot language this week for a so-called personhood initiative proposed by Personhood Florida and the American Life League. The ballot measure would amend the state constitution to say that "The word 'person' and 'natural person' apply to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, health, function, condition of physical and/or mental dependency and/or disability, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of biological development of that human being."
According to the Sun Sentinel, the amendment seeks to outlaw all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, and criminalizes most forms of birth control as well as emergency contraceptives. The amendment runs counter to Roe v Wade (1973), as well as Griswold v Connecticut (1965), the case that ruled contraceptive use by married couples are protected by the constitution's right to privacy.
In order to be certified for the 2010 ballot, supporters of the measure must gather over 675,000 valid signatures by February 2010. If the measure is placed on the ballot, it requires 60 percent approval from voters to amend the state constitution. If the measure fails to be placed on the ballot, any signatures collected will remain valid for up to 4 years.
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.
Currently, similar petition drives are also underway in Colorado and Montana.
Media Resources: Sun Sentinel 9/11/09; The Oyez Project 9/25/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/14/09;
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. . . .