[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tate Representative Stephen Humphrey, a Weld County Republican, has introduced a so-called personhood bill that grants legal protections to fertilized human eggs. The bill seeks to outlaw abortion in Colorado and cast doctors who perform the procedure as Class-Three felons.
The bill has political observers scratching their heads. It is unabashedly unconstitutional. It has virtually no chance of passing in a state where the legislature and the governor’s office are run by pro-choice Democrats and where personhood ballot initiatives have proven increasingly unpopular with voters, who have voted in landslides against a series of ballot initiatives over the last four or so election cycles.
What’s more, a personhood ballot initiative is in the works again this year. An attempt to also pass a personhood law would seem to double the effort. Also, it’s an election year, and conservative social policy positions have proven to be wedge issues that no longer work to Republican advantage. Recent Colorado majorities have embraced marijuana, gay rights and the full range of women’s reproductive health options.
Yet, Humphey’s bill has drawn a long list of Republican co-sponsors, including House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso. These lawmakers clearly chose to make a statement. They put their names on the bill. They were under no obligation to to do so. If they agree with its aims, they could have planned to vote for it in the wildly unlikely event it made it to the chamber floor. But it won’t make it to the floor. It will die quickly in a Democrat-controlled committee.
Notable is that the names of three conservative lawmakers running for statewide office do not appear on the bill. In contest, they have also made a statement.
Rep. Amy Stephens, a former Christian-right Focus on the Family staffer, is running for U.S. Senate. She did not sign up as a co-sponsor. Neither did anti-abortion Senator Owen Hill, running for the same U.S. Senate seat. He’s on the board of Save the Storks, a nonprofit that works to intercept young women on their way to abortion clinics. Sen. Randy Baumgardner is also running for the U.S. Senate seat and he also failed to sign on as a co-sponsor. Republican Candidate for governor, Sen. Greg Brophy, the Catholic gun-toting farmer from Wray, also decided against co-sponsoring Humphrey’s bill.
Four years ago, Republican Weld County D.A. Ken Buck lost a very close U.S. Senate race to Democrat Michael Bennet. Buck embraced personhood and said he was against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Women voted in large majorities for Bennet. Buck is now running against Baumgardner, Hill and Stephens for the chance to defeat incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Udall. Buck’s wife Perry, a state legislator, is one of the co-sponsor on the Humphrey bill. If that’s any sign, Buck would seem likely to again embrace personhood on the stump and, if that’s the case, will likely be asking his primary opponents why they ran away from the bill. It’s already shaping up to be an exciting primary race.
Read Humphrey’s “Protecting Human Life Beginning at Conception” Act below.