A group of registered Nevada voters filed today the first of two lawsuits this week challenging two proposed ballot initiatives that could ban vital health services by granting legal protections to fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses. The second lawsuit will be filed tomorrow. The lawsuits, filed against proponents of the measures and the Nevada Secretary of State, charge that the initiatives are vague and misleading. The voters are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Nevada, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Griffin, Rowe & Nave, LLP.

The effect of the initiatives, if passed, could outlaw many kinds of reproductive health services including all abortion care, commonly used forms of birth control, treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage and in-vitro fertilization if passed.

"We see over 50,000 patients each year in our Nevada health centers. They rely on Planned Parenthood for a wide range of health care, including basic preventive care that could become illegal if this ballot initiative becomes law,” said Elisa Cafferata, president and CEO of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “In these tough economic times, we shouldn’t be taking away access to lifesaving preventive health care.”

Both initiatives are worded in such vague and sweeping terms that they fail to make clear the extent to which they could drastically change Nevada law. If allowed to go forward, the initiatives could appear on the November 2012 ballot.

“The initiatives are designed to undermine a woman’s access to basic health services,” said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel of the ACLU of Nevada. “What’s more, they also violate the basic requirement of the initiative process – not to mislead the voter. The initiatives are so confusing that voters may not realize they are being asked to ban vital health services.’”

“These deceptive initiatives are just another attempt to insert government into a woman’s personal, private medical decisions,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Enough is enough.”

More information about the case can be found at: http://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/chen-et-al-v-personhood-nevada-....