Montana Personhood Amendment Fails To Get Signatures

Robin Marty

Personhood for fertilized eggs with not be on the Montana ballot this year due to a lack of signatures supporting an amendment.

Personhood for fertilized eggs with not be on the Montana ballot this year due to a lack of signatures supporting an amendment.  Supporters of the amendment were 12,000 signatures under the necessary number of valid, registered voter signatures needed to add an amendment vote to the 2010 ballot.
KFBB News reports:

CI-102 will again fell short of the required 48,764 signatures needed to appear on the November ballot with only 36, 376 signatures gathered.

The pro-life ballot issue would have made it legal for a woman to be criminally investigated for miscarriage and would have banned certain methods of birth control. CI-102 would have led to a complete ban on abortion with no exceptions.

Planned Parenthood of Montana says that CI-102 would have undermined the state’s 40-year-old constitutional right to privacy.

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Colorado, who was able to get a Personhood amendment on the ballot this year, began launching their campaign to amend the state constitution yesterday.

Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: Anti-Choice Laws Keep Falling in States

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

Anti-choice laws in conservative-run states continue to fall by the wayside after Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

Attorneys for the State of Indiana say they will not appeal—for now at least—a federal court order blocking a law that bans abortions performed due to a fetus’ race, gender, or an genetic anomaly.

In Ohio, a federal judge temporarily extended an order blocking lawmakers from defunding Planned Parenthood while attorneys argue more about it in court later this month.

Also in Ohio, the state supreme court will decide if supporters of the $15 minimum wage campaign gathered enough valid signatures to put the wage hike on the ballot in November.

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled the state’s death penalty violates the U.S. Constitution.

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JPMorgan will pay former prisoners almost $500,000 in damages stemming from a lawsuit accusing the bank of bilking ex-inmates with exorbitant ATM and other fees after their release.

Illinois just enacted a comprehensive law designed to make sure health-care providers who raise conscience objections to such things as performing an abortion have written protocols for referrals and transfers, to ensure patient care does not suffer in the name of so-called religious rights. Of course, anti-choice groups have already challenged it.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently found that wearing a cap with an insignia of the Gadsen Flag—the one with the rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me”could be considered creating a racially charged workplace environment.

The price tag for passing unconstitutional abortion restrictions keeps going up. In Wisconsin, it’s reached more than $1 million for defending admitting privileges provisions struck by the U.S. Supreme Court.

OB-GYNs are calling Zika a “game changer” for practitioners in Florida, though no word yet on if politicians are paying any attention to those words.

Finally, nearly a year after 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a “suspicious-looking” homemade clock to his Irving, Texas, school, his family has filed a civil rights lawsuit suit against his former district, the principal of the high school, and the city of Irving.

Commentary Abortion

Latinx Must Use Votes to Fight Hyde Amendment

Cristina Aguilar, Jessica González-Rojas, Laura Jimenez & Maria Teresa Kumar

More than 27 million Latinx are now eligible to vote, and that number can help determine who takes office and what abortion policies they enact.

The first woman known to die of an unsafe illegal abortion after the Hyde Amendment was a Latina. A struggling 27-year-old college student with a young daughter, Rosie Jimenez died from septic shock in October 1977—with a scholarship check earmarked for school in her purse. Jimenez had been refused coverage because, just months before, Congress had enacted the Hyde Amendment banning use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.

As we enter this Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice (today through August 7), the Hyde Amendment continues to deny pregnant people the chance to make the best decision for themselves and their families. And because our communities are hard-hit by abortion restrictions, Latinx must play a role in our electoral process to repeal Hyde and replace other anti-abortion measures with policies that truly support all families.

A 2011 study found that more than 70 percent of Latino registered voters believe that we should not judge someone who feels they’re not ready to be a parent. Unfortunately, this sentiment is not echoed by many legislators in Congress and throughout the country, who too often design policies precisely to put abortion care out of reach.

While the recent Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court struck down medically unnecessary restrictions in Texas, abortion access remains a challenge for many Latinx across the country. The Hyde Amendment has a disproportionate impact on low-income people of color who already face numerous health-care disparities and often do not have the money to compensate for insurance gaps.

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Withholding Medicaid coverage for abortion has an especially devastating effect in our communities, where enrollment is high; in 2012, 29 percent of Latinx adults and children nationwide received benefits from the program, and in some states such as Texas, more than half of Medicaid participants were Latinx.

Whether it’s public or private, health insurance must cover the services we need. When it doesn’t, the scramble to pay for an abortion has the potential to push families further into poverty. Already, too many of us are just scraping by while living with the stresses of a broken immigration system that divides families, structural racism, and lack of educational and employment opportunities.

Our communities need laws to ensure that health plans provide abortion coverage—not the Hyde Amendment nor legislation that claims to protect women while closing clinics or shaming those who provide and seek abortions.

Abortion is health care. And the ability to obtain health care should not be predicated on what type of insurance benefits you have, how much money you make, or whether you live in a state that allows public funds to pay for abortions.

It is time that we push back. Together, we can harness our power to advance positive policies that will make a difference. Latinx comprise a critical voting bloc that can significantly influence electoral outcomes; according to the Pew Research Center, an unprecedented number—27.3 million—of Latinx will be eligible to vote in the upcoming election.

But this only matters if we show up at the ballot boxes. We need to hold our elected officials accountable when they don’t consider the needs of our families. By lifting our collective voices and our votes, we can sway who holds office and makes policies.

This election, the health, rights, and dignity of our families are at stake. We cannot afford to sit out voting. It is an opportunity to make sure that those who are charged with representing us stand with our families. We owe it to Rosie Jimenez and the daughter she left behind. We owe it to ourselves.

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