Montana’s CI-108

November 6, 2011

As promised, I’m posting about CI-108, the latest personhood amendment attempt from the MT anti-choicers.  I’ll be honest though. It’s actually difficult for me to get fired up about it this time around.  Montana’s citizens have rejected similar attempts before.  None of the previous initiatives have gathered enough signatures.

My concern, however, is that I’m not the only one having a hard time getting fired up, and the signature gatherers will be able to use that to their advantage this time around.  Are they just reintroducing the same initiative over and over to wear us down?  It might not be a bad strategy.

CI-108 would be a particularly dangerous amendment, if it made it to the ballot.  It modifies the Due Process clause of the state constitution to define “person” as anything from a fertilized egg onward.  And you may recall the the Due Process clause reads “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

Ponder that for a moment, if you will.  Replace the word person with fertilized egg, zygote, embryo or fetus.   No fertilized egg shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.   Can you see where this is going?

It is clearly a method of outlawing abortion or at least making it so difficult to obtain that it is effectively outlawed.  It could even be used to outlaw the use of certain types of birth control, including Plan B, IUDs, or anything that might prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

And even though many people think this is a bit ridiculous it could actually bring about a situation where miscarriages had to be investigated to determine if they qualified as negligent homicide or something.  Did the woman drink or smoke, exercise too much or too little?   Did she eat sushi that included raw fish?  What about unpasteurized cheese or anything else known to be harmful to fetal development?

These amendment attempts keep cropping up all over the place.  I believe Mississippi and Colorado are also targets at the moment.

My sincere hope is that the initiative will fail to qualify for the ballot again due to lack of signatures.  I haven’t quite figured out when the deadline for submission is, though.  As always, I encourage everyone to be very aware of what it is you’re being asked to sign.  We’ve had instances of petitioners being very deceitful in the past.

I’ll share more information as I find it.

 

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For any of you interested in the CI-102 petition, Montana Cowgirl over at Left In the West has posted some very interesting and potentially disturbing info about the folks behind CI-102.  Please check out her post.

Well, it appears that the hardcore anti-abortionists are at it again.  They want to define a person as a human at any stage of life or development, from the fertilization of the egg onward.  Specifically they’re going after the Due Process clause of the Montana State Constitution.

The full text of the CI-102 Ballot Initiative can be read here.

First, the definition of person in this initiative:  “CI-102 amends the due process section of the Montana Constitution to define “person” as used in that section to include every human being regardless of age, health, function, physical or mental dependency, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.

Section 17 of the MT Constitution reads: “Due process of law. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

In searching for a good definition or explanation of Due Process I’ve discovered that it’s fairly vague, but seems to boil down to fairness.  A simple explanation can be found here, though it is not specific to Montana.

So if a fertilized egg is a person, it cannot be deprived of life (or liberty or property, but we’ll come back to that) without due process of law.  Does that mean that anyone wishing to have an abortion would have to request legal permission to proceed?

It certainly does. That’s exactly what these folks want to accomplish. If they cannot outlaw abortion outright they will continue to seek to  make it as difficult and burdensome as possible.  That this directly conflicts with a woman’s right to privacy is of no consequence to them.  And what happens when the rights of the mother and fetus are in conflict?  In those instances where the continuation of the pregnancy could kill the mother, how does the law decide which “person’s” rights to uphold?

Beyond the obvious, this amendment could have some pretty drastic consequences.  Planned Parenthood of Montana has posted about the issue here, focusing on privacy rights. And really, this isn’t all that different than 2008’s CI-100, which failed to gather enough signatures to make it to the ballot.  You can read a really well titled 4and20BlackBirds post on that initiative here.

Many of the same issues that could be seen with CI-100 also apply to CI-102.  If a person cannot be deprived of life without due process, and legal personhood begins at the moment of fertilization, what happens when a woman has an ectopic pregnancy?  Or a miscarriage?  Would miscarriages have to be investigated? Could charges be filed if a woman was found to have been less than perfect in nurturing her unborn child?

And moving on to the rest of the wording. Would fetuses be able to own property?  And what about liberty?  What exactly constitutes liberty when still inside the womb?

The proposed amendment is dangerous and more than a little potentially ridiculous.

I truly hope that Montanans will decline to sign this petition when they are presented with it.  Please spread the word and remember to always ask for the details of whatever petition you’re being asked to sign.  Petition gatherers can be fairly creative in finding ways to make their petition sound like the sort of thing any sensible person would support.

Remember, miscarriage is NOT murder.

Quick Hit: HB 228

March 20, 2009

I have it on good authority that HB 228 aka Kerns Crazy Gun Bill, is being amended & approved by the Senate and will be heading back to the House.  I’m not sure when.  4and20Blackbirds posts about it here.

Please get in touch with your legislators.  Here’s my set of links for finding & contacting them again.

1. You need to know your full zip code, which you can find here.
2. Using that zip code, the folks at Project Vote Smart will tell you who your Senator and Representatives are (scroll down).
3. Once you have that info you can go here to use the handy online form to contact your representatives. OR
3a. Between sessions you can go here to find their direct e-mail addresses.

An update on the bills I discussed a few days ago, in this post.

Would you believe that Sen. Shockley’s bill protecting clinic protesters is ready for its third and final reading in the MT Senate? Well, it is. Please note that should this bill become law, it carries with it a fine of up to $100.

Both SB406 and SB046 passed the Senate and are scheduled for hearings before the House Judiciary committee on March 13th. Here are the committee members. If you write to any of them, and I hope you do, remember to ask that your comments be shared with the whole committee.

Also of interest is SB 236, Sen. Wanzenreid’s bill to abolish the death penalty, which is scheduled to be heard before House Judiciary on March 25th. I support this bill and I hope it passes, though I’m not sure it will make it past the Governor’s desk without being vetoed, even if it makes it through the House.

And remember, you can listen to or watch committee hearings and sessions whenever a particular bill interests you. Audio and video are also generally posted to the archives by the next day.