CARSON CITY, Nevada, November 13, 2009 ( – Local Chapters of Planned Parenthood (PP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed a lawsuit against the sponsors of a Nevada ballot initiative that would explicitly define “person” as pertaining to all human beings, including the unborn.

The ACLU and PP filed the challenge this week in Carson City District Court on behalf of feminist blogger Emmily Bristol, physician Dr. William Ramos, and pharmacist Mindy Hsu.  The lawsuit claims the initiative violates state law by not explicitly stating the possible effects of the amendment on the legal status of abortion, emergency contraception, and fertility treatment.

The voter initiative in question would amend the Nevada state constitution to read: “In the great state of Nevada, the term 'person' applies to every human being.” 

“It's about access. It's the fact that I don't want the government coming between me and my doctor or me and my husband in our current and future family planning,” wrote Ms. Bristol, who is 12 weeks pregnant, on her blog The Sin City Siren.

The initiative's backers deny the issue is as complicated as the plaintiffs say.

“It's pretty clear that it's meant to protect the life of the unborn,” Richard Ziser, the initiative's sponsor, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “The fact they don't like what it says doesn't mean it's not understandable.”

Keith Mason of Personhood USA noted in a statement this week: “Children in the womb today have fewer rights than dogs or cats.  Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and Emmily Bristol are seeking to keep it that way.”

The initiative is in the process of collecting 97,002 valid voter signatures to make it on the November ballot next year.

Nevada's personhood amendment was filed on October 21, 2009. A similar initiative introduced in Colorado in 2007 was also challenged by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, but that effort failed, according to Personhood USA.