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Feminist News


March-29-10

CO Personhood Initiative Will Be on November Ballot

A so-called "personhood" ballot initiative, Amendment 62, will again be on the Colorado ballot in the November elections. Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher announced late Friday that of the 126,762 signatures submitted by Personhood Colorado, 95,884 are valid, nearly 20,000 more than is required to put a measure on the ballot, reported the Cyprus Times. The group initially submitted signatures on March 3, but the total number of valid signatures was short of the required number and they had until March 15 to collect another 15,000 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."

Leslie Durgin of Planned Parenthood told CBS, "We defeated it three to one in 2008. We are completely prepared to defeat it again in Colorado - The citizens of Colorado said they understood this amendment and they didn't want it to be part of the state constitution."

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: Cyprus Times 3/28/10; CBS 3/28/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/22/10