Signatures Submitted for New CO Personhood Initiative
Signatures were submitted Friday in support of a new so-called "personhood" ballot initiative in Colorado. Supporters of the measure submitted 79,817 signatures, just 3,770 more than is necessary to certify the measure and well under the some 131,000 signatures submitted to certify a similar measure for the 2008 election, according to the Denver Daily News. Several thousand signatures are routinely thrown out during the signature validation process, so it is possible that there are not enough valid signatures to qualify the measure.
The measure (see PDF) seeks to amend the state constitution so that "the term 'person' shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." The proposed measure goes further than Amendment 48, which was defeated in the 2008 elections by 73 to 27 percent and was a personhood initiative that declared a fertilized egg to be a person who enjoys all constitutional rights "relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law".
If the initiative passes, it would not only put a woman's right to an abortion in danger but also threaten oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (D) signed a bill (see PDF) last year that legally defines 'contraceptive' and 'contraception' as "a medically acceptable drug, device, or procedure used to prevent pregnancy." The bill was intended to prevent future legal challenges similar to the Amendment 48 campaign in the 2008 election cycle.
Currently, petition drives and legal cases for so-called "personhood initiatives" are underway in Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, and Nevada.
Media Resources: Denver Daily News 2/15/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 10/28/09, 2/11/10