Las Vegas Sun

May 24, 2016

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Anti-abortion groups oppose petition aimed at ban

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Sponsor of "personhood" ballot measure, Richard Ziser, isn't worried, saying it will fire up conservatives as much as it does liberals, leading to at worst a wash.

CARSON CITY – Four groups that for more than 30 years have fought for anti-abortion legislation say they are opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at banning abortions.

Janine Hansen, president of Nevada Eagle Forum, says that while the backers of the initiative petition have good intentions it will not stop abortions.

The Forum, the Independent American Party, Nevada Families and Nevada Life issued a statement opposing the “Personhood” initiative petition, saying the proposed constitution amendment “is so vague and general that it may not even apply to abortion at all.”

They said, “This amendment will harm the Pro-Life movement by giving pro-abortion courts more power to decide all matters relations to abortion, such as parental notification, informed consent and taxpayer funding of abortion.”

Richard Ziser, a spokesman for the “Personhood” plan, said that's another opinion and "everybody has their own.” He said those who drew up the initiative petition believe it is clear.

Ziser said this was a peoples’ amendment, not the courts.

The initiative petition, filed Oct. 21 with the Secretary of State’s office, would amend the Nevada Constitution to give “the inalienable right to life for everyone, young or old, healthy or ill, conscious or unconscious, born or unborn.”

It would need the signatures of 97,002 voters to qualify it for the 2010 election ballot. And if passed, it would have to be approved again by the voters in 2012.

A suit has been filed in district court in Carson City to stop the petition from being placed on the ballot. It said the petition was invalid because it violates the “core principles of the single-subject rule by proposing multiple unrelated and sweeping changes to Nevada law, while utterly failing to give voters notice of these changes.”

A hearing has not yet been set on the suit.

The four pro-life groups say these issues should be decided by elected officials such as legislatures and Congress, not by the unelected courts. They said this petition, even if enacted, could not overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision in the U.S. Supreme Court allowing abortions.

The four said the court decision “has brought about the wholesale killing of the innocent unborn. We oppose abortion and support the right to life of the unborn.”

They said the petition, if approved “will end up giving unlimited power to the courts to perpetuate and expand the disastrous effects of Roe v Wade and will interfere further with any legislative efforts to stop abortion.

The statement of opposition was approved by Hansen of the Eagle Forum, Don Nelson president of Nevada Life, Lynn Chapman of Nevada Families and John Wagner, state chairman of the Independent American Party that has 49,000 registered voters.

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