Birth control bill survives poison pill amendment

Colorado House Republicans failed in their attempt Friday to modify the Birth Control Protection Act that would re-define pregnancy as beginning at the moment of conception.

During the floor debate, bill co-sponsor Rep. Anne McGihon (D-Denver) derided the wrecking amendment offered by Rep. Don Marostica (R-Loveland) as a back door tactic to grant “personhood” to fertilized eggs. The poison pill created a no-win situation for the bill’s backers who couldn’t support adding a religious provision to the law.

McGihon argued that the pregnancy definition amendment moved SB 225 into the realm of the religious rather than the medical and scientific definition that is already codified in Colorado law as implantation in the uterus. The Denver Democrat reminded her colleagues that voters resoundingly defeated Amendment 48 — the 2008 ballot measure that sought to confer constitutional rights on fertilized eggs as full-fledged persons.

Marostica’s amendment was defeated on a voice vote.

SB 225 proposes to add “contraception or a contraceptive device as a medically acceptable drug, device, or procedure used to prevent pregnancy” to the Colorado revised code. McGihon and her Denver counterpart Sen. Betty Boyd contend that having a clear-cut definition that complements current state law defining pregnancy will eliminate future debate over whether contraception induces abortions.

The bill passed its second reading on a noisy voice vote with 33 House members affirming support. It now moves to a third and final reading Monday.