by Steven Ertelt
November 5, 2007
Helena, MT (LifeNews.com) — Some pro-life advocates in Montana are looking to place an amendment to the state’s constitution on the ballot that could eventually be used to prohibit abortions. Their efforts could set up a huge battle over the abortion issue during the 2008 state elections.
Jonathan Martin, an activist with the small Constitution Party, says the language is designed to change the state law regarding how unborn children are perceived.
His proposed amendment would clarify that a “person” under state law includes "a human being at all stages of human development or life."
Martin told Montana media that he thinks the amendment has a good chance of passing.
“This is not per say an anti-abortion bill,” he said. This is a pro child bill. It simply asks Montanans to recognize the unborn child as a person, and that’s all it does. If it should pass, what then would be the result would be that the Legislature and the people of Montana would be compelled to study and determine what right as persons the unborn children have under our Constitution."
The state has long had problems with language form its Constitution getting in the way of reducing abortions as it is one of a handful that have a privacy clause that its state Supreme Court has misinterpreted to mean that abortion should be legal without limits.
The Montana Supreme Court has previously ruled pro-life legislation unconstitutional on that basis despite federal courts saying the bills comply with federal constitutional requirements and similar bills allowed an other states.
Stacey Anderson, with Planned Parenthood of Montana, confirmed her group would fight any initiative and said she didn’t think it would pass because state legislators have previously rejected bills in the state legislature to do the same thing.
Anderson pointed to a bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Jore earlier this year that lost on a 53 to 45 vote. It would have placed a similar proposal on the state ballot had it been approved.
Should Martin’s measure make it on the ballot, Montana Family Foundation director Jeff Laszloffy says his group would probably support it.