Monday, March 10, 2008


Thomas More Law Center Continues Quest to Pass State Personhood Amendments - This Time in Oregon

Monday, March 10, 2008

ANN ARBOR, MI —The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will present oral arguments to an Oregon Circuit Court judge in defense of a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution crafted by the Law Center that would protect human life from the moment of fertilization.

In addition to this effort in Oregon, the Thomas More Law Center has been working with pro-life leaders in Georgia, Colorado, and Montana to pass similar state constitutional amendments that would provide legal protection to all human beings from the moment of fertilization.

These proposed amendments would achieve two fundamental purposes essential to the pro-life movement. First, they would establish that these states are "pro-life" states that protect all human life from the moment of fertilization as a matter of constitutional law. Second, they would provide a direct challenge to the central holding of Roe v. Wade. As the Supreme Court itself acknowledged in the Roe decision, if the personhood of the fetus could be established, the abortion right "collapses. "

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, reiterated his criticism of those in the national pro-life movement who fear challenging the Roe decision head on: "For too long the national pro-life movement has been dominated by a strategy of "wait," too fearful of losing to risk winning. "

The oral argument will be heard at 2:00 pm on Monday, March 10th in the Marion County Circuit Court in Salem, Oregon.

Last fall, the Law Center filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court against the Secretary of State and the Attorney General of Oregon, alleging that these government officials violated the state and federal rights of Ms. Kelly Le Claire by improperly denying her request to circulate the state initiative petition that would amend the Oregon Constitution to protect the unborn.

The lawsuit alleges that by improperly denying her the right to initiate a petition to amend the state constitution, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General violated several state and federal statutory and constitutional rights, including rights protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and several provisions of the Oregon Constitution.

The essential issue at this hearing will be whether the proposed constitutional amendment violates the State's "separate-vote requirement," which prohibits proposed amendments from making multiple substantive changes to the Oregon Constitution that are not closely related. The Law Center will argue that the proposed amendment does not violate this constitutional requirement.

Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling the matter, stated, "Every private citizen and elector in the State of Oregon, including our client, has a right to initiate a petition to amend the state's constitution. By denying her this fundamental political right, state officials have violated her civil rights protected by the United States and Oregon Constitutions. "

On a related note, Oregon is the only state that currently allows assisted suicide.

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at