Montana Politics

Guest Post: Reject CI-108

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When you are out at the polls next week, you are quite likely to encounter people who’d like to get you to sign a petition supporting CI-108, the “personhood amendment” to the Montana constitution. While I’m personally quite certain this would be a disastrous policy, I think experts in the medical field can best make the case—as this post demonstrates.

When asked, don’t sign. Montana’s constitution and laws should protect the rights and health of women in our state, both things threatened by this amendment.

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.

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% 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.

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.

Signed:
Christopher Montville, MD
Ieva Bailey, MD
Melissa Casper, MD
Peter D’Ascoli, MD
Fanee Freeman, MD
Mark Garnaas, MD
Shaun Gillis, MD
Shelby Haugan, MD
Thomas Kent, MD
Amy Korten, MD
Shauna Werth Kronfuss, MD
Maureen Lucas, MD
Drew Malany, MD
C.H. Tersh McCracken, MD
Christene McDonnell, PA
Michelle Montville, MD
Lori Newman, CNM, FNP
William Peters, MD
Stacy Shomento, MD
Samuel Sillitti, MD
Jamie Straub, DO
Julie Straub, DO
Linda Waring, MD
Melissa Wolf, MD

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

2 Comments

  • According to the bible, life begins at first breath.

    p.s. I’m not the Thomas Kent, MD who is listed as one of the signatories.

  • Please explain to me how this would do any of the things you claim? I don’t see how it would affect internationalization or decisions a woman and doctor make about her body.

    Maybe you don’t understand the reason for this legislation. Imagine a young woman just found out she was pregnant. She is ecstatic. She tells her boyfriend and he seems happy about it also. As time goes by (7 months) he starts to feel more and more trapped and in a rage beats the young lady within an inch of her life. Telling her the whole time he is going to kill her baby. He leaves her for dead on the side of the road. She is found by a passing car and rushed to the ER where she goes into labor. She delivers a beautiful baby boy…with his scull crushed!!!! Yes, she will live but the child she so longed for didn’t. There was nothing the authorities could do because that baby was not considered a person. As time went on she had miscarriage after miscarriage because every time she got pregnant with a boy her body thought it was something bad a fought it.
    It took ME years to overcome the loss of my son and all the guy who killed him got was 15 days in lock-up for assault.

    When ‘person-hood’ is established has nothing to do with abortion. If it did then post-birth or partial-birth abortions would not be legal and they are.

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