by Steven Ertelt
January 23, 2008
Helena, MT (LifeNews.com) — A coalition of Montana pro-abortion groups announced their official opposition to a proposed state constitutional initiative that would establish legal personhood for unborn children. Planned Parenthood, NARAL’s Montana affiliate and Montana Women Vote say they are coming together to oppose CI-100.
The Montana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Montana Human Rights Network are joining the opposition as well.
Montana NARAL calls the measure "an attempt to redefine when life begins and take away womens ability to make private medical decisions."
The group says that pro-life advocates support the measure because Montanas constitution "contains greater protections" for abortion than the U.S. Constitution.
As a result, "anti-choice forces know it is the major roadblock that stands in the way of interfering in our most private decisions."
The group said those supporting the initiative want to "institute a total ban on abortion in Montana with no exemptions should Roe vs. Wade be overturned."
Rep. Rick Jore of Ronan is behind the initiative, which is designed to change the state law regarding how unborn children are perceived. It essentially defines human life as beginning at conception.
The initiatives language has been approved by the Attorney General and, 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 House districts.
Jore and his supporters have until June 20 to get the signatures and he has formed a new ballot committee called Life for Montana to organize the effort.
Should it receive enough signatures, the measure would be placed on the 2008 ballot and spark a statewide abortion debate.
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 were going to have a lot of volunteers, as individuals, regardless of the organizations or associations that officially jump on, he said.
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.