The Las Vegas Review Journal has reported that an attorney for Planned Parenthood has filed two challenges against proposed state constitutional amendments designed to permanently ban abortion in Nevada. The proposed amendments have been put forward by Personhood Nevada and Nevada Prolife Coalition.
Of the two proposed amendments, it is the one put forward by the “Personhood” movement that attracts the greatest opposition, from pro-life groups as well and pro-abortion groups. The actual proposed amendment says:
“The People of the State of Nevada do enact as follows: RESOLVED, That a new section designated Section 23 be added to Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada to read as follows: In the great state of Nevade, the term “person” applies to every human being.”
The ballot summary is more exact, stating: The Nevada constitution states, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Currently, some Nevadans are deprived of their inalienable civil rights, specifically their fundamental right to live, due to an arbitrary and discriminatory distinction between person and human being. While the state has no authority to grant inalienable rights, it has the obligation to protect them. This amendment therefore applies the term “person” to every human being. ‘Human being’ includes everyone possessing a human genome specific for an individual member of the human species, from the beginning of his or her biological development, without discrimination as to age, health, reproduction method, function, physical or mental dependency, or cognitive ability. This amendment benefits all Nevadans by guaranteeing, as envisioned by our founding fathers, that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. It eliminates discrimination against Nevadans at the beginning of life and prohibits state intrusion in end of life decisions. This amendment codifies the inalienable right to life for everyone, young or old, healthy or ill, conscious or unconscious, born or unborn. It assures protection and dignity to our children, our infirmed and our seniors.”
The “Personhood” movement has attempted this amendment in several states, including Florida, Missouri, Montana and Colorado. It has been repeated voted down by huge margins. The pro-life opposition makes the case that the amendment is too vague to accomplish its goal and the motivation for the Personhood movement is highly suspect. They do not reveal their funding sources, move into a state from the outside and create the impression that the amendment will overturn Roe v. Wade, which it cannot do. If the amendment seeks to define a person as beginning from the moment of conception, it doesn’t do that. In fact, the pro-life opposition has made the case that the “personhood amendment” could be used by pro-abortion forces to block anti-abortion legislation.
The Nevada Prolife Coalition petition, which was filed in September, is an attempt to resurrect a ballot initiative that failed in 2010. The proposed amendment would ban “the intentional taking of a prenatal person’s life” and defines a person as “every human being at all stages of biological development before birth.”
In 1990, the voters of Nevada chose to allow legal abortions, codifying the Roe v. Wade decision. Repeated attempts to ban abortion in Nevada have failed.
The more the pro-life movement has moved to the extreme, the more people are starting to remember why the pro-abortion movement existed before Roe v. Wade. Though the specifics of Jane Roe’s suit were not about the issues that had given birth to the movement, the case fulfilled the movement’s goal. The movement was never about creating abortion-on-demand as a form of birth control. It was about saving lives. Women died from doomed pregnancies, were forced to sacrifice their lives to save the life of the baby, were driven to suicidal depressions carrying the babies of their rapists. Desperate women died at the hands of illegal abortionists. Abortion was a portion of greater issues of women’s rights – the right to put an incestuous relative in jail, the right to refuse sex, the right to bear a child out-of-wedlock without being pushed to the destitute fringes of society, the right to birth control and sex education. All these things figured into the pro-abortion movement. It was never our intention to create a culture where a baby was an inconvenience to be flushed. The right to an abortion as an alternative to death or insanity was just a portion of the rights we were fighting for.
We know that the simplest way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but the same forces that are pushing the anti-abortion laws also prevent adequate sex education in our schools. They refuse to allow birth control to be dispensed. They refuse to recognize the value of a woman’s life. But most of all, they refuse to understand that making abortion illegal does not prevent abortion. It just makes abortion unsafe.