The Montana secretary of state has approved a “Personhood” initiative for signature gathering. Personhood measures have cropped up across the country — including in Florida — in an attempt to ban abortion and some forms of birth control.
In order for the initiative to make it onto Montana’s 2012 election ballot, it would need the signatures of more than 48,000 Montana voters. The effort is being spearheaded by the Montana Pro Life Coalition, which attempted and failed to pass a similar measure last year. Groups including Montana Right to Life, Montana Catholic Conference and the Family Foundation all opposed the amendment during past election cycles, arguing that it wasn’t the proper way to make abortion illegal, and could easily be overturned in court — leading to a strengthened Roe v. Wade.
Personhood Florida is currently trying to place a similar measure on the Sunshine State’s 2012 ballot. Pro-life lawmakers are wary of throwing their support behind the bill — preferring, instead, to stay on the fringes of the abortion issue and support initiatives like mandatory ultrasound and parental notification bills.
A handful of high-profile Christian activist groups, including the Family Policy Council and the Florida Catholic Conference, also declined to lend their support to the bill. Bryan Longworth, the head of Personhood Florida, remains undeterred.
Though Personhood initiatives have been viewed as radical, even among conservatives, the movement has gained traction in the past year. In Mississippi, a Personhood Amendment has received a slew of high-profile endorsements, including Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and American Family Association founder Don Wildmon. The Mississippi Personhood Amendment will be voted on this November.