Anti-abortion group Personhood USA has submitted 46,671 new petition signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office in a second attempt to land an initiative on the November ballot that would grant fertilized human eggs the full spectrum of legal rights.
“Over the past few days, the massive quantities of signatures that poured in just amazed us,” said Gualberto Garcia-Jones, co-sponsor of the initiative. “That means that we collected over 2,600 signatures each day, about 2 signatures per minute.”
Earlier this month, the Secretary of State declared that the 79,648 signatures submitted by the campaign were not enough, that according to a preliminary review, too many would be thrown out as invalid. The group had 15 days to replace augment their petition by roughly 15,000 new signatures. Thousands of initiative petition signatures are tossed for a variety of technical reasons for all initiatives, which is why proponents should always turn in thousands of extras.
According to a Personhood release, more than 700 volunteers worked to gather signatures this month. Tuesday’s Republican primary caucus meetings provided one rich venue.
Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA, said he was confident.
“We knew we could do it, because when you are working on such a critical, life and death issue, volunteers are passionate.”
Critics of the initiative have charged that a personhood law would end in-vitro fertilization in the state, halt embryonic research, and compromise pregnant women’s rights.
Initiative supporters admit to wanting to end embryonic research and some fertilization techniques but they say the rhetoric on potential limits on women’s rights is overblown.
Former Planned Parenthood attorney Kevin C. Paul told The Colorado Independent that the Personhood people don’t know the ramifications because the law would cut a new path into the state statutes. Fact is, any new rights granted to fertilized eggs would jockey with existing women’s rights.
“Constitutional jurisprudence is all about weighing interests. If you’re creating a new interest, one that hadn’t existed previously, then that interest is going to have to be weighed against [those of] anybody else. And if you take the position that an unborn fetus is to be legally treated just the same as a woman, then those two interests clash.”