A judge in Nevada is smacking down “personhood” advocates left and right.
On Wednesday, District Judge James Wilson granted an injunction request by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood against a petition circulated by Personhood Nevada, ruling that it’s too vague and would confuse voters.
The group’s lawyer, birther attorney Gary Kreep, was cagey in the court hearing when asked about the purpose of the petition, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. At one point Kreep said it would prevent “discrimination against the unborn,” and another time noted he could only “speculate” on the possible effects.
Wilson ruled that state law requires the purpose to be clear so as not to confuse voters about what they’re signing. “To me it is not clear,” Wilson said. “It is not capable of being rehabilitated through rewriting.”
Another Nevada judge threw out a similar measure two years ago for the same reasons. That decision was appealed to the state Supreme Court, but by the time the case came up it was too late to collect the necessary signatures to qualify for the election.
Kreep said Personhood Nevada is deciding whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court this time around.
Personhood Nevada called Wilson a “judicial activist” judge in its statement on the ruling, saying that “the people’s voice in Nevada has been silenced by those who profit from abortion the most - Planned Parenthood.”
“Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the liberal courts have stifled our ability to engage in free speech, legally maneuvering until me [sic] miss our statutory deadline, and keeping us from exercising our constitutional rights as Americans and Nevadans,” said Olaf Vancura, the president of the group. “We are determined that no matter how long it takes, we will not be silenced. The personhood petition will be approved, and we will protect all human life in the state of Nevada.”
On Monday, Wilson also ruled against a petition by the Nevada Pro-Life Coalition for a “fetal personhood” measure that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception. Wilson said that this measure was also too vague and would mislead voters, and provided the group with the more specific language it would have to include before it can start collecting signatures. Wilson’s language spelled out the fact that the measure could effect women’s access to certain types of birth control:
The initiative would protect a prenatal person regardless of whether or not the prenatal person would live, grow, or develop in the womb or survive birth; prevent all abortions even in the case of rape, incest, or serious threats to the woman’s health or life, or when a woman is suffering from a miscarriage, or as an emergency treatment for an ectopic pregnancy. The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to utilize some forms of birth control, including the “pill;” and to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will affect embryonic stem cell research, which offers potential for treating diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and others.
The Nevada Pro-Life Coalition has to collect 72,352 valid signatures by June to qualify for the November, 2012 ballot.
Nevada is just one part of the “personhood” movement’s push to get ballot measures in a number of states for this coming election year. Recently, the movement faced a high-profile setback in Mississippi when voters rejected a “personhood” measure in November.