CO Personhood Initiative May be on Fall Ballot
Personhood Colorado submitted approximately 45,000 more signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State in support of their proposed ballot initiative last week. According to ABC, just 15,690 more valid signatures are needed to put the measure on the fall 2010 ballot.
In February, Personhood Colorado submitted 79,817 signatures, just 3,770 more than would be necessary to certify the measure. As of March 3, the Colorado Secretary of State announced that Personhood Colorado had not gathered enough valid signatures and was given until March 15 to gather 15,000 more valid signatures. Several thousand signatures are routinely thrown out during the signature validation process.
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: ABC 3/19/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/5/10