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May 4, 2015

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Judge to rule on Nevada abortion ban initiative

CARSON CITY — A district judge says he will rule by the end of the week on the legality of an initiative petition seeking to ban abortions in Nevada.

District Judge James Wilson heard nearly two hours of arguments Tuesday whether supporters of the petition can go forward to gather signatures.

This is only the first step in a long process to decide whether Nevadans will eventually vote to amend the state constitution on the controversial right-to-life issue.

Backers of Nevada Pro Life must first gather 72,352 signatures to qualify the issue for the next election. And there must be at least 18,088 in each of the four congressional districts. The signatures must be turned in by Aug. 8 for the petition to appear on the election ballot.

If it passes next year, it would have to be approved again by the voters at the 2014 election.

And there are expected to be many court challenges in the interim.

Wilson appeared to side with opponents of the petition whose lawyer argued the initiative was invalid because it did not adequately inform the voters of effects.

Wilson said there must be sufficient information to tell the public what the petition is about. “It requires descriptions of the effects,” he said.

The petition says, “The intentional taking of a prenatal person’s life shall never been allowed in this state. For the purpose of this section only, the term ‘prenatal person’ includes every human being at all stages of biological development before birth.”

The suit to stop the petition from being circulated was filed by six Nevadans who are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Alexa Kolbi Molinas, attorney for the union, told the judge the petition violates the law that there can be only one subject in an initiative that seeks to amend the Nevada Constitution and the language isn’t clear.

“They are rolling many issues into a simple initiative making a number of changes,” said Molinas.

She argued the initiative “does not spell out the consequences” if the petition is finally passed. For example, it outlaws birth control pills and could stop cell research that could offer treatment for such things as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease.

But Michael Peters, attorney for the pro-life group, said the judge must confine himself to the language in the petition, whose sole goal is to protect prenatal life.

The opponents, Peters said “are totally off base and are going outside the four corners of the initiative.”

The petition would not outlaw birth control, he said. That would require a law if the petition is approved. “There cannot be any further ban on birth control without further litigation,” Peters said.

So far the pro life organization has not gathered any signatures.

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  1. The libertarian tea party crowd strikes again with this personhood amendment-like insanity.

    Now they want "small government" to dictate a woman's FERTILITY.

    Outlawing birth control pills?

    Forcing rape victims to bear the children of their attackers?

    This is disgusting.

  2. KEEP THE LAW OUT OF MY BODY ! Stupid people....hope this initiative fails, and soon. We are overpopulated on this planet, let alone all the unwanted pregnancies...and the babies dead in the trash. Do they think that will change things? It will make it worse. Hope the judge throws this nonsense out.

  3. Oh these silly Pro Lifers. They think totem poles are alive.

  4. Don't put the Libertarian Party or anyone who professes to be a libertarian behind this. Contrary to what Ron Paul might say, Libertarians and libertarians alike will be against this government intrusion.

  5. Pro-Lifers are gung-ho for bringing babies into the world, but when they get here, education, health and quality of life become too expensive to provide.

    Contraception pills which prevent fertilization are "murder" but lack of food or quality living environment costs too much. Government sponsorship of these programs is "socialism", which is godless, and we cannot have godless programs in America. We're a Christian Nation. God will provide the food, clothes and education if we learn to pray properly. We don't need education, just prayer and properly done. That's the answer. Keep practicing, you'll get it right some day.

  6. Republicans and Tea Partier's just want government to be small enough to fit inside a woman's uterus. You people are disgusting hypocrites.

  7. "The libertarian tea party crowd strikes again with this personhood amendment-like insanity."

    ksand99 -- why exactly do you believe the "libertarian party" is behind any of this? I'm a registered member of that party and its basic philosophy is advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty. And getting government out of our lives where it doesn't belong.

    "Check out Europe..."

    markp -- excellent post! And most of those governments are either monarchies or fairly new democratic republics, not like our Constitutions which clearly states the purpose of government is to secure our freedoms. Yet they trust their people more than our paranoid institutions.

    "Don't put the Libertarian Party or anyone who professes to be a libertarian behind this."

    boftx -- you beat me to it

    "1972, Roe v. Wade, established a woman's right to choose."

    777s -- no, it *confirmed* her right. You should it read it -- it's more about privacy than abortion.

    "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." -- the late Florynce Kennedy (1916-2000), civil rights activist and attorney

  8. I do not see how, a small faction of the population, think that women DO NOT have the right to choose, and that the supreme court ruling of Roe V. Wade can be usurped at the State level. If the supreme court ever decides to overturn their decision of 1972, then and only then should it be relegated to the respective State courts of each state. Then what we will have is people crossing state lines to have procedures done, as well as back office abortions done by unqualified individuals, which is more of a travesty than being able to regulate the process and making sure it is done by qualified individuals.