LIVEBLOG: No on Amendment 48

I’m here at the Big Tent listening in on a panel discussing the “personhood” amendment that will be on the ballot in Colorado that seeks to confer constitutional rights on fertilized human eggs.

9:12 a.m.: Colorado is a test case to ban abortion
Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood of America is speaking on how the ballot measure is advancing ideology at the expense of women’s health. She explains how it could become very difficult to not only obtain certain forms of contraception, such as birth control bills, but would endanger in vitro fertilization and stem cell research.

9:15 a.m.: Raising the spectre of government interference
Richards mentions that women could be investigated for miscarriages.

9:19 a.m.: This is a national strategy
Nancy Keenan of Pro-Choice America notes that anti-abortion groups do not publicize their support of this initiative because it is so out of step with the American public.

The strategy is that people on the ground are tired of waiting for their national groups to end abortion so they are attacking it in the states through citizen initiatives and state legislatures. Another point is that they are attempting to overturn Roe v Wade via the courts by stacking them with socially conservative justices.

9:21 a.m.: The independence of government and the people
Keenan discusses why the western U.S. has become the lightening rod for pushing anti-abortion model legislation, such as South Dakota’s abortion ban, and Colorado’s proposed constitutional amendment. She says that she is confident that once Republican and unaffiliated voters understand how these measures interfere with the fundamental freedoms of the people from government interference.

9:26 a.m.: Criminalizing medical practice
Physician Eliza Buyers notes that there is no scientific method to detect a fertilized egg until several weeks or even months after it has further developed.

Dr. Buyers also notes a incredible hypocrisy within the anti-abortion movement that claims to support family values. Like oral contraceptives and IUDs, breastfeeding also naturally thins the lining of the uterus making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant. Would that threaten criminal charges against nursing mothers, lactation specialists and physicians who advocate breastfeeding?

9:33 a.m.: Harming infertile couples
Dr. Ruben Alvero, an OB-GYN and expert in infertility, speaks to the suffering that infertile couples experience with the many indignities of medical treatments to become pregnancy.

130,000 IVF treatments took place in the U.S. last year. He discusses the far-reaching affects of the Colorado ballot measure that would prevent infertile couples from getting assistance to start their families.

“It’s bad medicine and bad science and goes too far,” said Alvero.

Audience Q&A
Q: How much support does this initiative have in Colorado?
A: There are a number of groups and physicians who have signed on to oppose the ballot measure at Protect Families Protect Choices.

The proponents have substantial opportunities to launch a campaign because of wide national support.

Q: Why are we making the point that this amendment “goes too far” when there should be no distance in terms of women’s reproductive choices? It is an absolute right.
A: Government has no role in making these decisions, says Richards. This is a stealth way of raising an abortion ban notes Keenan.

Q: Is there any knowledge that this ballot measure being raised in other states?
A: Focus on the Family and National Life League are using Colorado as a test bed. The Terry Schiavo case underscored how people unrelated to a family tragedy could interfere advance government interference with personal decisions.

Q: How can bloggers help?
A: Keenan asks bloggers, both men and women, to get involved, write about this issue and running ads on their sites. “This is not a women’s only issue … it is a family issue.”

“We saw Americans come to a halting stop when they watched the [Terry Schaivo case] broadcast on TV. … For the grace of God that could be my family.”

The panel concludes with a pitch to help raise the estimated $3 million needed to defeat Amendment 48.

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Wendy Norris

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