by Steven Ertelt
January 1, 2008
Helena, MT (LifeNews.com) — Backers of a ballot measure seeking legal recognition for the personhood of an unborn child and likely paving the way to making abortions illegal can move ahead with obtaining signatures. Should it receive enough signatures, the measure would be placed on the 2008 ballot and spark a statewide abortion debate.
Rep. Rick Jore of Ronan is behind the measures and the first, CI-100 is designed to change the state law regarding how unborn children are perceived. It essentially defines human life as beginning at conception.
His proposed amendment would clarify that a “person” under state law includes "a human being at all stages of human development or life."
Jore told the Helena Independent Record that he thinks pro-life advocates in Montana will be able to get enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot despite opposition from pro-abortion groups.
“I think we’re going to have a lot of volunteers, as individuals, regardless of the organizations or associations that officially jump on,” he said.
“Our approach goes right to the heart of this debate: Are we dealing with human life, or are we not?” Jore told the newspaper. “If [an unborn child] is indeed human life, which I strongly believe it is, then arguments on privacy, health care, et cetera, need to be focused on and in the context of two lives.”
To qualify, CI-100 needs signatures from 44,615 registered voters and those must break down into 10 percent of the voters in at least 40 of the 100 Montana state House districts.
Jore and his supporters have until June 20 to get the signatures and he has formed a new ballot committee, the IR reported, called Life for Montana to organize the effort.
Several pro-abortion groups will oppose CI-100 if it gets on the ballot, including the Montana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood of Montana, NARAL’s Montana affiliate, and the Montana Human Rights Network.
The state has long had problems with language from 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 in other states.