Anti-‘personhood’ coalition regroups, begins campaign

The coalition assembled to fight Colorado’s anti-abortion “personhood” ballot initiative in 2008 has regrouped to fight the 2010 version of the amendment. “Here we go again,” the reformed Protect Families, Protect Choices (PFPC) writes in a release Tuesday. Personhood USA is backing the initiative. When last the two groups faced off, Protect Families, Protect Choices prevailed: Seventy-three percent of Colorado voters opposed the initiative. The 2008 initiative would have granted fertilized human eggs the full spectrum of legal rights in the state.

“Amendment 62 is bad policy, bad law and bad medicine. It was a bad idea in 2008 and it is still a bad idea now,” said Leslie Durgin of PFPC, also senior vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Amendment 62 would insert the government into the personal, private health care decisions that women and their families make every single day.”

The initiative struggled at first this year to draw enough signatures to make it onto the ballot but supporters made a push during the primary caucus voting in March and easily made it over the threshold.

Person USA reworked the initiative for 2010 to provide legal rights “from the beginning of biological development.” The 2008 language asked for those protections to kick in “from the moment of fertilization.” The initiative drafters say the new language will better serve to stop practices such as embryonic stem cell research along with abortions in the state.

The Amendment states: “Section 32. Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”

Protect Families, Protect Choices maintains that the initiative would ban abortion without exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. It would also ban embryonic stem cell research and likely end practices such as in-vitro fertilization. Legal analysts have also argued that the legal rights of pregnant women are compromised by the law, as charges of child abuse, negligence, manslaughter or murder could be levied against women who experience miscarriages or abuse drugs or undertake any action, including medical treatment for unrelated conditions, that might endanger the zygote.

Analysts also point to unintended consequences where a host of laws and policies would change, including census counting, property rights and civil lawsuits.

Gualberto Garcia-Jones, co-sponsor of the Personhood Amendment, said that after the outpouring of support his group received in the final stretch to secure a spot on the ballot, he waspreparing for victory. “We are counting on all of our supporters and many volunteers to vote yes on the Personhood Amendment, Amendment 62, in November.”

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