The group currently leading a "personhood" ballot measure petition drive in Mississippi filed a lawsuit in federal court this week seeking clarification of a law that could derail their efforts to fulfill the state petition requirements. Under current Mississippi state law, petition signatures must be both submitted and certified by circuit court clerks before the one-year deadline lapses. The deadline for the "personhood" measure is February 13, but about 4,000 more signatures are needed and the certification of the signatures could take weeks, according to the Associated Press.
Personhood Mississippi aims to redefine "personhood" in state law as beginning at the "moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof." They need to gather 89,000 valid signatures (12 percent of the previous election's gubernatorial votes). The only successful petition drives in Mississippi history were in 1995 and 1999. Both of these ballot measures dealt with term limits.
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. Currently, petition drives and legal cases for so-called "personhood initiatives" are also underway in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Montana, and Nevada.
Media Resources: Associated Press 2/2/2010; Feminist Daily Newswire 1/8/2010
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .