An effort in Montana to define every human being from the beginning of biological development as a "person" fell short of the required 48,674 signatures needed to bring the proposal before voters this year.
According to organizers of the Montana Personhood Amendment Initiative, this year's effort fell short by around 6,000 signatures though "well over" the number of required signatures had reportedly been submitted.
While not all the signatures submitted were certified as valid, the Montana ProLife Coalition and Personhood Montana said they still see their latest drive as a victory, noting that this year's number of signatures nearly doubled how much was collected in 2008.
Expecting the trend to continue, organizers said they are confident that Montana will see Personhood on the ballot in 2012.
"Jesus Christ is building a movement for personhood rights of babies across the country," said Cal Zastrow, co-founder of Personhood USA, in a statement Tuesday. "He will continue to build in Montana, and they will stand ready. Although this year Montana citizens will not have the opportunity to end baby murder, we know we will have the chance in the very near future to protect every Montana citizen, no matter how small."
Though not explicitly stated in its language, the proposed constitutional amendment would effectively make all types of abortion illegal as the word "person" would apply to "all human beings, irrespective of age, health, function, physical or mental dependency or method of reproduction, from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
Amendment organizer Dr. Annie Bukacek, who said the "killing of innocent humans is not compatible with a civilized society," reported in Tuesday's announcement that the grassroots prolife network backing the proposed amendment would work to influence the November elections and bills during the 2011 legislative session.
"We have barely begun the fight for the rights and liberties of unborn babies," she stated, "and we will keep working at it until their personhood is established in our Montana Constitution."
Bukacek vowed that the group will to try again in 2012 and that it will start its signature gathering in June 2011.
Bukacek is president of the Montana ProLife Coalition.