IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Personhood' movement slowed in 2012 as amendment fails to make Montana ballot

A movement to ban abortion in Montana by placing an amendment on the state's November ballot to define life as starting at conception, or fertilization, has failed. Similar so-called "personhood" proposals in half a dozen other states have also failed this year.

The Montana ProLife Coalition gathered less than half the signatures it would have needed to get the amendment on the ballot (23,512 out of 48,674 necessary), according to the Missoulian

The amendment, CI-108, would have altered the state constitution to extend all rights afforded to the state's citizens, including due process, to human embryos, thus outlawing abortion, but also possibly impacting some birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and stem cell research.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana championed its voter education effort with helping to block the amendment, saying that after "months of work educating voters on the severity of the proposed law, Montanans thought carefully about the unintended consequences before rejecting this dangerous measure." 


The national pro-life "personhood" movement led by Personhood USA has so far failed to rally voters to move its cause forward. It recently failed at the voting box in Mississippi, and just last month, an effort to put personhood on the ballot in Ohio did not collect enough signatures. Personhood signature drives to get onto the 2012 ballot have also failed in Florida, Nevada, California, and Oregon.

The group has until August 6 to collect enough signatures in Colorado to bring personhood to the state's voters in 2012. Colorado voters have twice rejected similar personhood proposals in 2008 and 2010. 

In other states, the legislature or courts have rejected personhood, such as was the case in Oklahoma earlier this year and Virginia.

The Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe V. Wade upheld a woman's right to abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, but gave states more leeway to restrict abortions in the second and especially the third trimester so long as exceptions were made for the protection of the mother's life. Personhood proposals directly challenge Roe V. Wade.