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12.16.09 - This case, known as the Alaska Personhood Initiative, is a pre-election challenge to the Alaska Lieutenant Governor's certification of a measure seeking to extend legal rights from the moment of conception.
Case filed: 11/23/2009
Plaintiff(s): Victor Fischer, Anne Harrison, Mark Sandberg
Center Attorney(s): Janet Crepps
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Jeffrey M. Feldman, Feldman Orlansky & Sanders; Alexander O. Bryner, Feldman Orlansky & Sanders; Laura Einstein, Planned Parenthood – Great Northwest; Diana Aguilar, Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Eve Gartner, Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Tom Stenson, ACLU of Alaska Foundation; Jeffrey Mittman, ACLU of Alaska Foundation; Jennifer Dalven, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project; Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
Summary: Anti-abortion advocates across the country are seeking to outlaw abortion through the passage of measures aimed at extending legal rights to embryos and fetuses from the moment of conception. In many states, including Alaska, the proponents of these measures are proposing initiatives that will be placed on the ballot for popular vote if the sponsors can obtain enough signatures from registered voters. Before an initiative can be circulated for signatures in Alaska, the Lieutenant Governor must approve the measure for content and form and prepare a summary. This case challenged the Lieutenant Governor’s approval of the proposed personhood measure on the grounds that it proposed only a statement of policy and not a law, that it failed to inform voters of what it proposed to enact, and that the summary was biased and inaccurate. The case was dismissed after the sponsors failed to gather enough signature to have the measure placed on the ballot.