The Nevada Personhood Initiative

Overview

The ACLU of Nevada and other advocates for reproductive freedom are fighting an initiative that could potentially ban a range of reproductive health care services in Nevada. The initiative, backed by the organization Personhood Nevada, would add a short, fourteen-word amendment to the Nevada Constitution: “In the great state of Nevada, the term ‘person’ applies to every human being.”

Why is the ACLU of Nevada Concerned?

The Nevada Personhood Initiative seeks to redefine a fertilized egg as a person in Nevada's Constitution and laws, and it could potentially ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, and commonly used forms of birth control. In addition, it could interfere with doctors' ability to treat life-threatening pregnancies, miscarriages, and infertility, and it could ban some stem cell research and other life-saving therapies and cures. Read more >>

The Legal Challenge

The ACLU of Nevada, along with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, and the law firm Kaempfer Crowell, are representing an individual woman, a pharmacist, and an obstetrician-gynecologist in a legal challenge against the Nevada Personhood Initiative, on the grounds that it is misleading and fails to give voters a clear understanding of the far reaching changes it proposes. Read more >>

News & Updates

- February 12, 2010 - Personhood Nevada appeals Judge Russel's decision that the Personhood Initiative was too broad and vague. (Expedited hearing expected: 'Personhood' ruling appealed - Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/16/2010. Nevada 'personhood' advocates appeal court ruling - AP, 1/16/2010.)

- January 21, 2010 - Judge Russel issue an order finding that the initiative is "complex and broad," that it is "too general and vague in nature" and violates the single subject rule. The initiative is declared invalid.

- January 8, 2010 - ACLU of Nevada attorney Lee Rowland argues against the Nevada Personhood Initiative in the First Judicial District Court. The initiative was declared invalid that day by Judge Russell. (Transcript of the January 8 argument.  Judge: ‘Personhood’ abortion petition too general for November ballot  - Las Vegas Sun,1/8/2010.  Judge throws out Nevada 'personhood' initiative - Associated Press, 1/8/2010.  Judge rejects personhood amendment - Las Vegas Review Journal, 1/8/2010.)

- January 4, 2010 - The ACLU of Nevada and Personhood Nevada discuss both sides of the legal challenge on Nevada Newsmakers. (Nevada Newsmakers segment.)

- November 12, 2009 - Plaintiffs file a legal challenge to the Nevada Personhood Initiative.  (Plaintiff's brief challenging the Personhood Initiative. ACLU-NV News Release - 1/12/09.  Lawsuit Challenges "Personhood" Abortion Petition - Las Vegas Review Journal,11/12/2009.  Lawsuit Filed to Block "Personhood" Initiative - Ralston's Flash, 11/12/2009. ACLU and Planned Parenthood Expected to File Lawsuit Against Anti-Abortion Initiative Petition - Reno Gazette Journal, 11/12/2009. 'Personhood' Faces Challenge - Las Vegas Review Journal, 11/13/2009.)

    - October 21, 2009 - Personhood Nevada files initiative petition defining "person" as a human being.  (ACLU-NV News Release - 10/22/2009. Personhood Petition Would Outlaw Pills that Induce Abortion - Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/16/2009.  Personhood Amendment Would Ban Pill RU-486 - Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/17/2009. Anti-Abortion Advocate Oppose Personhood Initiative - Reno Gazette Journal, 11/17/2009

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