ACLU and Planned Parenthood Demonstrated that Initiative Is Vague and Misleading

LAS VEGAS – A Nevada state judge today declared invalid the second of two ballot initiatives designed to ban all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest, and other vital women’s health services by granting legal protections to fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses. The initiative, blocked by Judge James Wilson, Jr. of the First Judicial District Court, was found to be so vague and misleading that it could not be permitted to go to the voters under any circumstances.

“We are very pleased that the court recognized that this initiative was confusing beyond repair,” said Dane S. Claussen, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada. “With this week’s decisions, we have ensured that voters will not be deceived into supporting a measure that could have banned a range of vital health services.”

This initiative was proposed by Personhood Nevada. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Nevada, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America challenged the initiative and another similar measure on behalf of a group of registered Nevada voters.

Both initiatives were intended to outlaw all abortions, even when necessary to save a woman’s life, but also commonly used forms of birth control, including the “pill” and IUDs, as well as in-vitro fertilization and embryonic stem cell research.

“Nevadans do not want the government interfering in a woman’s personal and private decision making,” said Elisa Cafferata, President & CEO of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “We are greatly relieved that the court struck this bad initiative that could have made essential women’s health services illegal in this state.”

Similar initiatives have twice been rejected by voters in Colorado (in 2008 and 2010) and most recently this past November in Mississippi.

“This is a victory not only for women and families, but also for anyone who cares about the integrity of the initiative process,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the national ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Hopefully the proponents of these initiatives will finally get the message that neither the voters, nor the courts, are buying what they are selling.”

Additional Resources

- More information on this case can be found at: