Personhood USA, the group behind granting personhood rights to human embryos, on Monday asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Oklahoma Supreme Court and put their personhood measure on the November ballot.
The ballot measure, Initiative Petition 395, would grant human embryos the rights and privileges of citizens in Oklahoma. Supporters have said their goal is to set up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade via the personhood push.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court had ruled that the proposed ballot question, if approved, would unconstitutionally ban abortions in the state. A similar measure died in the state legislature.
In its 34-page petition to the Supreme Court, Personhood USA claims that decision is contrary to rulings in similar cases and contrary to Supreme Court precedent that forbids courts from invalidating state statutes based upon “a worst-case analysis that may never occur.”
“The Oklahoma Supreme Court violated these basic rules of judicial review, frustrating the intent and infringing the right of the sovereign people of Oklahoma,” the petition says.
Keith Mason, founder of Personhood USA, a national anti-abortion advocacy group, said the state Supreme Court’s decision effectively denied Oklahomans the opportunity to debate and vote on the proposed amendment. “This is about equal access to the democratic process,” Mason said. “No citizen can be blocked from expressing their views on such a critical issue as life.”
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, called Personhood USA’s appeal an attack on the reproductive rights of women.
“The proponents of this measure have made explicit the ultimate objective of the anti-reproductive rights movement: to strip all Americans of their constitutional right to make their own decisions about whether and when to have children,” Northrup said in a statement on the organization’s website. “They’re coming after birth control. They would make access to abortion illegal in all circumstances. They would even threaten the ability of couples with fertility problems to seek medical assistance in starting a family,” Northrup said.
“Regardless of whether these assaults take aim at one particular reproductive health service or all at once, they all must be regarded as serious threats to the constitutional rights of all Americans. And they must be decisively rejected as such,” she said.
If 2012 seemed like a busy year on the reproductive front, it’s clear we haven’t seen anything just yet and at this rate the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to abortion rights by 2014, guaranteed.
Photo from kaibara via flickr.
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