Nevada judge bars ‘personhood’ initiative from 2012 ballot

A federal judge in Nevada has thrown out a petition to get an anti-abortion initiative on the 2012 ballot — on the grounds that its incomprehensible.

To me it is not clear, Carson City District Judge James Wilson told petitioners late Wednesday, according to news reports. It is not capable of being rehabilitated through rewriting.

The petition, from Personhood Nevada, states: The term person includes every human being. 


The ruling marks the second defeat this week for Nevada anti-abortion groups efforts to have the unborn recognized as people with full legal rights. Judge Wilson on Monday rewrote a similar petition from a different group to explicitly reference the ripple effects of passing a personhood amendment to the state constitution.

The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to utilize some forms of birth control, including the pill; and to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, the rewritten ballot measure reads. The initiative will affect embryonic stem cell research, which offers potential for treating diseases such as diabetes, Parkinsons disease, heart disease, and others.

Abortion-rights groups applauded both decisions.

Taken together, Planned Parenthood state policy official Amanda Harrington said, what we can take away is that these amendments are going to be hard-pressed to find success anywhere.

The petitioner, Personhood Nevada, is expected to appeal Wilsons decision.

Personhood amendments were on the ballot in Colorado in 2008 and 2010 and in Mississippi in 2011. They failed each time.