Opponents of abortion are working to include a personhood initiative on the state's ballot this November. The personhood initiative, known as amendment Cl-108, seeks to define life under state law as beginning at the moment of fertilization, granting fertilized eggs with the full rights and privileges of a person under the Montana state constitution. As a result, Cl-108 would not only put a woman's right to an abortion in danger, but it could also threaten the rights to oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, in-vitro fertilization, and stem cell research.
In a post on the organization's website, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana's communications manager, Lindsay Love, wrote, "Voters should be skeptical of this initiative, which goes too far in meddling with the personal lives of Montanans. At a time when the government should be focused on jobs and the economy, issues like CI-108 do nothing but divert attention from the real concerns of Montanans while interfering with families' most private decisions. Voters should be skeptical of CI-108 because it has no exception for rape or incest. In fact, it could outlaw everything from birth control to in vitro fertilization to stem cell research."
In order to include Cl-108 on the ballot, personhood proponents need to gather 10 percent of the state's voters' signatures, or approximately 48,674 signatures. Of these signatures, 40 of the 100 districts in the state must be represented with at least 10 percent of voters from each of the districts signing. Personhood initiatives have failed in other states, most recently in Oklahoma, Virginia, and Mississippi. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America (PDF), 14 state legislatures introduced 26 personhood measures in 2011.
Media Resources: Planned Parenthood Women are Watching 6/5/12; NARAL Pro-Choice America 3/9/12; Ravalli Republic 9/9/11
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. . . .