Personhood Legislation

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Personhood Bills and Ballot Initiatives

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RESOLVE opposes all Personhood initiatives and urges all Americans to VOTE AGAINST any anti-family legislation as it undermines access to safe and reliable infertility medical treatments. Click here to read RESOLVE’s Policy Statement on Personhood legislation, which includes a full explanation of how Personhood legislation and/or Amendments will impact people with infertility.

What is the difference between a Bill and a Ballot Initiative? 

A ballot initiative is an attempt to get an issue in front of voters in a state. A Personhood Ballot Initiative would be an attempt to have voters in a state pass a Personhood Amendment or Initiative that would change a state constitution or amend state statutes defining when life begins. Each state has its own process for how any initiative gets on a ballot in November. At its core, a ballot initiative is taking a particular issue to the general public and letting them decide.  In 2014, North Dakota will have a Personhood ballot initiative that North Dakota residents will vote for or against on November 4, 2014.

A Personhood bill is a bill introduced in the state legislature, either in the House or Senate or both, and must proceed along a specific process to get a final vote in the full House and Senate. The bill would then need to be signed into law by the Governor. A bill would only be voted on by the elected officials in a state and would not be open to public vote.

Personhood Bills and Ballots have been introduced in the following state. Here is the status of each of these legislative initiatives in each state.

State: Montana Bill Number: HB 425
Updated: February 23, 2015

  • Description of bill: HB 425 at the general election in November 2016 would add to the Montana ballot a constitutional amendment to redefine the term “person” to include microscopic embryos from the moment of fertilization or conception. Microscopic embryos would be given Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. This bill is a "personhood" law that would make many infertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and cryopreservation of embryos for future family building, potentially illegal. 
  • Does RESOLVE support or oppose this Bill: RESOLVE opposes this bill.
  • Current status of the Bill in the legislative process: The bill passed favorably out of the Judiciary Committee. 
  • Link to Resolution: HB 425
  • Local Volunteer Needs: RESOLVE asks Montana residents to send letters to their elected officials TODAY expressing their opposition to this Bill.  Click HERE to send a letter to your lawmakers. Please sign up for RESOLVE’s Action Alerts to receive updates on this Bill.

State: New Hampshire Bill Number: HB 194 Bill Name: An Act providing that life begins at conception"
Added: January 20, 2015

  • Description of Bill: HB 194 is a so-called "personhood" bill. It would confer Constitutional rights on microscopic embryos from the moment of fertilization of the egg.
  • Does RESOLVE support or oppose this Bill: RESOLVE opposes this bill.
  • Detailed Analysis of Bill: By equating embryos and born human beings, HB 194 poses a serious threat to infertility treatment. If microscopic fertilized eggs/embryos are full human children, anything that puts an embryo at risk could be a violation of law, even if its goal is helping someone have a baby. 
  • Current status of the Bill in the legislative process: House Judiciary voted 10-4 that the bill is "Inexpedient to Legislate"; House debate expected 2/11/15.
  • Link to BillHB 194
  • Read RESOLVE's Policy on Personhood Legislation.
  • Local Volunteer Needs: Please send a letter opposing this bill here. If you are interested in opposing this bill, please contact RESOLVE at info@resolve.org

State: South Carolina Bill Number: S 129
Added: January 20, 2015

  • Short Description of Bill: A so-called "personhood" ballot to give legal rights to newly fertilized microscopic embryos (i.e., when life begins).
  • Does RESOLVE support or oppose this Bill: RESOLVE opposes this bill.
  • Current status of the Bill in the legislative process: The bill was referred to the Committee on Judiciary on 1/13/15.
  • Link to Bill: 129
  • Read RESOLVE's Policy on Personhood Legislation.
  • Local Volunteer Needs: If you are interested in opposing this bill, please contact RESOLVE at info@resolve.org

State: Virginia House Resolution Number: HR 214
Added: February 5, 2015

  • Description of House Resolution: This is not a bill per se, but a House Resolution, which is typically used to recognize important people or convey the sense of the Virginia Assembly.   If passed, this would send a message that the Virginia Assembly has stated their opinion on when life begins.  This bill is about Personhood, defining that a microscopic embryo is a person. 
  • Does RESOLVE support or oppose this House Resolution: RESOLVE opposes this House Resolution.
  • Current status of the Resolution in the legislative process: The Resolution was referred to the House Courts of Justice Committee..
  • Link to Resolution: HR 214
  • Local Volunteer Needs: If you oppose this House Resolution and would like to get involved, please contact RESOLVE at info@resolve.org