Missouri Personhood Amendment on Abortion Fails to Qualify for November Ballot

State   Steven Ertelt   May 4, 2010   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Personhood Amendment on Abortion Fails to Qualify for November Ballot

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 4
, 2010

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The personhood amendment has failed to qualify for the November ballot in another state. One week after California organizers announced they didn’t get enough signatures, backers of the amendment in Missouri indicated they did not receive enough as well.

Those spearheading the amendment in Missouri received "only a fraction" of the 150,000 signatures required to get it before voters this Fall.

The amendment would define an unborn child as a person from the moment of fertilization and essentially attempt to overturn laws prohibiting abortion. The Missouri amendment does not include the word "abortion" but states that personhood would begin at "the beginning of biological development."

Gregory Thompson, a former school superintendent who was the Constitution Party’s nominee for governor in 2008, was the main sponsor of the petition.

While some pro-life advocates support such measures, many pro-life groups oppose them not because they oppose the concept of personhood on abortion but because they say the amendments are guaranteed to be overturned in court and detract from other pro-life efforts that can save lives.

Missouri Right to Life articulated that position during the signature-gathering process and other pro-life groups did not sign on to help it.

"If the amendment is meant to be a direct attack on Roe v. Wade, it is poorly advised," Missouri Right to Life said in a statement. "Direct attacks in law, as in war, lead to defeat if they are mounted in the wrong circumstances. It gains nothing to act without a strategy that has a decent chance of succeeding."

The group also noted Missouri taxpayers could be stuck with paying for Planned Parenthood’s legal bills if the personhood measure is defeated in court.

The state has had a law since the mid-1980s saying human life begins at conception and that law has been upheld by the Supreme Court but it can’t be used to topple the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton abortion cases that allowed virtually unlimited abortions in the United States.

To do so, most pro-life attorneys and legal experts say the makeup of the Supreme Court must be changed so Roe can be overturned and states can once again protect unborn children from abortion under law.

Missouri Planned Parenthood applauded the failure to obtain enough signatures.

"Clearly Missourians found this measure too extreme and did not support putting it on the ballot," it said today.

Two states will vote on personhood amendments this year.

Colorado, where voters defeated the first amendment by nearly a 3-1 margin, will vote again on the measure, and voters in Mississippi will vote on a personhood amendment as well.

Other states could see votes,including Nevada and Alaska — where abortion advocates have filed lawsuits that may derail the amendments.

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