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Feminist News


October-27-09

Michigan Anti-abortion Personhood Initiative Introduced

Michigan congressmen Jim Slezak (D-50) and Paul Scott (R-51) have introduced a "personhood amendment" that could virtually outlaw abortion in the state if approved by voters. If passed, the proposed state constitutional amendment would extend due process rights and apply to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, gender, health, function, condition or dependency, including physical or mental dependency, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of their biological development, including fertilization, (see PDF).

For this measure to be placed on the ballot, either two-thirds of Michigan state lawmakers must pass the measure or enough petition signatures must be collected, reported Flint City Beat. According to the Michigan Messenger, a total of 23 lawmakers co-sponsored the bill and the measure has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. State Congressman Slezak, who is sponsoring the legislation, told the Flint City Beat "I would like to get rid of (abortion) make it a nonissue here once and for all."

Abortion opponents have pushed the so-called "personhood initiatives" in several states. These measures declare that a fertilized egg is a "person" who enjoys "inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of the law." They would threaten not only abortion itself, but IUDs, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research. In the 2008 elections, Colorado's Amendment 48 (see PDF), failed 73 percent to 27 percent. In addition to failing in Montana, petition drives for similar initiatives ultimately failed in Georgia, Oregon, and Mississippi for the 2008 elections. Currently, petition drives for similar initiatives are underway in Nevada, Florida, Montana, and Colorado.

Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 10/22/09; The Michigan Messenger 10/23/09; Flint City Beat 10/22/09; House Joint Resolution II 10/14/09