Billings Gazette, June 2, 2012 by CHRISTOPHER MONTVILLE
As voters in the state of Montana, we are skeptical of CI-108, the so-called personhood amendment currently seeking qualification for the November 2012 ballot. This initiative, if qualified for and passed on the November ballot, would define “personhood” under the Montana Constitution as beginning at the moment of fertilization. Fertilized eggs, at any stage of development, would be granted the full host of rights and privileges available in our constitution. We are skeptical of CI-108 because it is government going too far in meddling with the personal lives of Montanans.
Outlawing fertility treatment
We are deeply concerned about the possible dangers CI-108 could pose to women and families in our state. By granting constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, this amendment would allow the government to investigate, regulate and potentially intervene in every pregnancy, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, regardless of the health of the mother or her fetus. CI-108 would directly impact decisions a woman and her doctor make during pregnancy. CI-108 offers no exceptions for rape or incest. CI-108 would also limit certain types of birth control and stem cell research. Are we, as Montanans, willing to let government intervene in these deeply personal and important matters?
CI-108 would also severely limit the ability of couples with infertility to utilize certain fertility treatments like IVF (in vitro fertilization). Approximately 10 percent of couples face the challenge of infertility. CI-108 would produce so many legal uncertainties about the status of embryos that it would be difficult or impossible to treat infertility patients using long-established assisted reproductive treatments. CI-108 is much more than a pro-life, anti-abortion measure. This amendment would have far-reaching consequences, the likes of which have never before been seen in this state or the country at large.
Threat to women’s health
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the primary medical organization for women’s health care providers, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the National Infertility Organization overwhelmingly agree that “personhood” poses a grave threat to doctors’ ability to provide patients with standard medical care. These organizations understand that “personhood” measures put the health of women in jeopardy and greatly expand government intrusion into doctors’ offices and exam rooms.
In short, “personhood” is a threat, not just to the health of women and families across this state, but to health care providers who care for and treat women with miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, high-risk pregnancies and infertility. As Montanans, we cannot support CI-108. We ask the voters of this state to carefully consider the far-reaching consequences this measure would have for Montana families. We ask you to NOT sign CI-108.