Opponents File Suit Challenging Personhood Oklahoma’s Pro-life Amendment Petition

Personhood USA is responding to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU (case: 110545). The pro-abortion groups issued a statement on Thursday asking the state Supreme Court to block Oklahoma’s citizen-led personhood amendment petition effort. Personhood Oklahoma filed the pro-life ballot initiative on March 1st and has until the end of May to collect the 155,000 signatures required to reach a vote by Oklahoma citizens in November.

The measure would define the word “person” to include every human being, at every age, and guarantee the inherent right to life of every person.

“A ‘person’ as referred to in Article 2, Section 2 of this Constitution shall be defined as any human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being to natural death. The inherent rights of such person shall not be denied without due process of law and no person as defined herein shall be denied equal protection under the law due to age, place of residence, or medical condition,” it reads.

“The lawsuit filed today is par for the course, and therefore completely anticipated,” said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “The opponents of personhood will stop at nothing to deny the people of Oklahoma their First Amendment right to petition the government on behalf of the preborn and ultimately recognize the most basic and fundamental human rights of the smallest and most defenseless people group.”

Personhood opponents have previously sued personhood groups who have initiated amendment petitions. Both in 2008 and again earlier this month, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were defeated at the Colorado Supreme Court in their bid to challenge the 2008 and 2012 Colorado Personhood Amendments (cases: 07SA245 and 12SA10).

Last Thursday, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a suit filed by Healthy Families Ohio challenging Personhood Ohio’s personhood petition effort (case: 2012-0070). According to NBC 4, Healthy Families Ohio charged that the ballot title, describing the effects of the amendment, was not a “fair and truthful” description of the measure.

Last fall, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pro-life advocates (case: 2010-CA-01949-SCT). Personhood Mississippi reported that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed suit to prevent the Mississippi Personhood Amendment from reaching the ballot. “Just as this Court cannot prohibit legislators from offering proposals in the House or Senate, this Court cannot impede voters from submitting proposals through the voter initiative process,” read the majority opinion.

“The pro-abortion groups have been beaten back, again and again, with courts in multiple states defending the people’s right to initiate pro-life petitions and upholding the measures’ descriptions,” continued Mason. “We’re confident that this Court will, once again, rule that the people of Oklahoma are well within their constitutional right to pursue laws which promote the values they hold and respect the lives of all people.”