Thursday, May 15, 2008

Colorado Life Amendment One Step Closer To Ballot

What could this mean to the rest of us? It could, quite possibly, nullify Roe V. Wade across the country.

By: JOE MURRAY, The Bulletin

Advocates supporting a personhood amendment to Colorado's constitution announced this week they have submitted 131,245 signatures to the Colorado secretary of state, above and beyond the 76,047 needed for the measure to be placed on this November's ballot.

"The people of Colorado want to see this on the ballot," said Kristi Burton, spokesperson for Colorado for Equal Rights (CER). Ms. Burton explained the personhood amendment has generated a great deal of excitement in the Centennial State, as over 1,100 volunteers turned in petitions supporting the amendment.

The secretary of state has approximately 30 days to review the signatures collected and, pending certification, the personhood amendment will be placed on the ballot. The measure could impact the presidential election as Colorado is deemed a crucial swing state necessary for either party to capture the White House.

Personhood amendments have become increasingly popular with the pro-life community, as activists in Georgia, Montana and Oregon are also working on similar measures. While slightly different depending upon the state, personhood amendments generally hold that the term "person" written in state constitutions would include any human being from the moment of fertilization. Including the unborn in the definition of personhood is crucial, for if a state adopted such a measure it could exploit a legal loophole left by Justice Harry Blackmun when he wrote the majority decision in Roe v. Wade.
Justice Blackmun wrote, "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case [the case for abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

Ms. Burton argues the amendment will alter the way the country views abortion.

"Is the unborn child a person?" she asked. "If not, what is he or she?" Ms. Burton asserts that abortion rights supporters have not been able to answer this question and that the personhood amendment will compel the citizens of Colorado, as well as the nation, to finally formulate an answer.

Pro-choice activists, however, have met the amendment with vehement opposition and are attempting to organize a campaign to defeat the measure.

"If passed, this amendment would permanently alter Colorado's constitution to allow government intrusion into Coloradans' personal, private decisions," said Toni Panetta, spokesperson for Protect Families Protect Choices. "This dangerous and deceptive measure would lay the legal foundation to deny Coloradans the health care they need."

Joe Murray can be reached at


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