My take on Constitutional Initiative 100 is at the Outpost website. I think it may be the most detailed look yet in the Montana press at what the amendment is all about.
So what do I think? I think there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the amendment, no matter what one's position on abortion is. Leaving it to the Legislature to decide what the amendment really means doesn't sound like such a hot idea. Making the right to life "paramount" sounds unnecessarily mischievous. If the right to life is paramount, would it be constitutional to send soldiers into combat, knowing that some of them would die?
Indeed, if you read the section on what the amendment actually says, it seems to guarantee all sorts of rights that don't really make much sense for someone who has no brain or detectable body parts. It's just meaningless to say that "all persons recognize corresponding responsibilities" to the rights they enjoy when "persons" include organisms that have utterly no notion of either rights or responsibilities.
You could say the same thing about newborn babies, I suppose, but at least birth draws a neat, bright line that conception doesn't. Babies start to acquire notions of rights and responsibilities so quickly after birth that defining them as "persons" at any point later than birth would open all sorts of cans of ugly worms. Pushing the date of personhood back to the moment of conception isn't much neater.
I know that Roe vs. Wade mucked up the abortion debate something fierce, and that's too bad. But at this point there's no real remedy that I can see other than trying to amend the U.S. Constitution to leave abortion in the hands of the states. That wouldn't make anybody happy, probably, including me, but it beats the other options.