Montana Pro-Life Advocates Will Try Again for Abortion-Personhood Measure

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 22, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Montana Pro-Life Advocates Will Try Again for Abortion-Personhood Measure

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 22
, 2009

Helena, MT ( — A group of pro-life advocates in Montana will try a second time to put an initiative on the state ballot that would pertain to abortion and bioethics issues by declaring that human life begins at the point of conception. The personhood effort is one of several legislative and ballot measures across the country.

Former state legislator Rick Jore, from Ronan, is behind the pro-life along with a group of pro-life advocates organized under the name Montana ProLife Coalition.

The are proposing a ballot initiative that would appear before voters in 2010 if it gets enough signatures from state residents.

Jore and Sen. Dan McGee, a Republican from Laurel, failed in their attempts in 2007 and 2009 to get a bill in the legislature approved to put the personhood proposal on the ballot without a statewide signature campaign.

In 2008, Jore and the coalition fell 18,000 signatures short of the nearly 49,000 they needed to get the ballot measure before voters during the presidential election.

The pro-life advocates would need that number in 2010 and would have to obtain signatures from 10 percent of the voters in 40 of the 100 state House districts.

Roland Horst of Bigfork, a member of the board of directors of the ProLife Coalition, talked with the Billings Gazette about the initiative and said there may be more than one amendment proposal.

"The goal is to amend the constitution so that we do have a footing to give people rights," Horst said. "It’s more than pre-birth. It covers you throughout life, including the aged, infirm and people with disabilities."

"Our goal ultimately is to stop abortion," Horst said. "That’s not what the change in the constitution will do. All it does is give people rights. It would take laws to implement. The Legislature would have to get together to create laws and pass them."

Officials with Planned Parenthood and Montana NARAL told the newspaper they would again lead an effort to oppose the amendment and Greg Trude, the executive director of Montana Right to Life, said the timing of the amendment is wrong.

He said the focus on stopping abortion is on the Supreme Court and getting it to overturn Roe v. Wade. Once that happens, states like Montana would have the ability to pass their own laws potentially limiting or prohibiting abortions.

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