Helena, Montana - 02/26/2009 - Montana's Senate passed constitutional Personhood Amendment, SB 406, in a 26-24 vote. The amendment, introduced by Senator Dan McGee, passed on its third reading on the Senate floor this morning. This is the first Personhood Amendment in U.S. history to pass a State Senate.
"Senator Dan McGee, writing the language of SB 406 himself, has shown what it truly means to be pro-life," stated Keith Mason, of Personhood USA. "Senator McGee's successful efforts on behalf of all human beings at all stages of human life are a giant step forward in historic efforts to ensure the rights and protection of every individual."
SB 406, which defines person for the purposes of application of inalienable rights, states, "All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights...person means a human being at all stages of human development of life, including the state of fertilization or conception, regardless of age, health, level of functioning, or condition of dependency."
SB 406 must continue on to pass the Montana House of Representatives with a majority vote of 74. Once it passes, it is to immediately become a part of the state's constitution. The race is on between Montana and North Dakota for the first Personhood legislation in our nation's history, as Montana's Personhood Amendment continues on to its House of Representatives, and North Dakota's Personhood legislation continues on to its Senate.
But the actual text of the legislation is somewhat vague:
Section 1. Article II, section 3, of The Constitution of the State of Montana is amended to read:You'll notice that this legislation doesn't attempt to define life as beginning at fertilization. My thought is that it is intentionally vague and they want it to be challenged in the courts. "All stages of human life" is subjective and nonsensical. I'm having a hard time figuring out why the personhood movement isn't trying to go for the full life-begins-at-fertilization language.
"Section 3. Inalienable rights. (1) All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean and healthful environment and the rights of pursuing life's basic necessities, enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and seeking their safety, health and happiness in all lawful ways. In enjoying these rights, all persons recognize corresponding responsibilities.
(2) For purposes of this Article, person means a human being at all stages of human development of life, including the state of fertilization or conception, regardless of age, health, level of functioning, or condition of dependency."
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Effective date. If approved by the electorate, this amendment is effective January 1, 2011.
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Submission to electorate. This amendment shall be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana at the general election to be held in November 2010 by printing on the ballot the full title of this act and the following:
 FOR defining person as a human being at all stages of human development of life.
 AGAINST defining person as a human being at all stages of human development of life.