Patterico's Pontifications


Colorado Initiative would Define Personhood as a Fertilized Egg

Filed under: Abortion,Law — DRJ @ 6:35 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

In an initiative that could have a significant impact on abortion in Colorado, the Colorado Supreme Court allowed a group to begin collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would define personhood as a fertilized egg:

“The Colorado Supreme Court today released a decision giving proponents the go-ahead for a ballot initiative that would amend the state Constitution in 2008 to define personhood as a fertilized egg. Opponents of the measure, which would lay the constitutional foundation for making abortion illegal in the state, asked the court to reject the ballot title as misleading to voters.

The court ruled that the measure’s wording is clear and meets state requirements in terms of covering a single subject. The measure, if approved by voters, would extend constitutional protection from the moment of conception with regard to rights of life, liberty, equality of justice and due process of law.

The group pushing the measure, Colorado for Equal Rights, can now begin gathering the 76,000 signatures required to put the issue on the November 2008 ballot.”

Planned Parenthood and other opponents of the initiative are working to ensure its defeat:

“Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is one of the reproductive-rights groups opposing the measure, which it said in a statement would have sweeping consequences for women using contraception to prevent pregnancy as well as for couples using in-vitro fertilization to start families.

Planned Parenthood has called the ballot initiative “deceptive and dangerous.”

I think of liberal Aspen celebrities and Ward Churchill when I consider Colorado politics but it is also the home of Tom Tancredo. With a political range like that in one (relatively small) state, this will undoubtedly be a volatile issue. Overall, though, Colorado seems an unlikely state to define personhood at fertilization.


29 Responses to “Colorado Initiative would Define Personhood as a Fertilized Egg”

  1. Do you have a link to the actual initiative as it will be placed on the ballot?

    dave (becf31)

  2. All I have is the Denver Post link. I’ll try to find something later today.

    DRJ (9578af)

  3. That could be interesting. If an egg is a person does it qualify for governemnt assistance and AFDC? Might work out well for a lot of poor pregnant women.

    joe (6dd049)

  4. My expecting better half and I went to see and listen to her sonogram yesterday. I got to watch our daughter sucking her thumb and kicking in the womb. The idea that she is not a person seems laughable to me.

    Ironically, should somebody kill a preganant woman, they can be charged with the murder of the as-yet-unborn.

    JD (33beff)

  5. 1. Found this on a different site. Supposedly, this is the language:

    Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado:
    SECTION 1. Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:

    Section 31. Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of article II of the state constitution, the terms “person” or “persons” shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization.

    bill (7f6f20)

  6. And what if it fails, which I predict it will? While I can agree that most people would like limits on abortion, I don’t believe they want to abolish it.

    dave (becf31)

  7. Most people would like limits on abortion. You would never know that by listening to the folks from NOW, or Planned Parenthood. Until we can rationally discuss issues like parental notification for minors, or heaven forbid, parental consent for minors, this issue will remain as divisive as ever.

    JD (33beff)

  8. I wouldn’t be so sanguine about Coloradans not being able to win this ballot measure. The Coloradans I have known (lived for many months both east and west of the Rocky Mts) are practical, realistic, and very socially conservative. They just might do it.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  9. Do pregnant women get to use the carpool lanes?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (fbbbca)

  10. Well I can use deadly force against a person which threatens me with death or great bodily harm (if I want to). So there’s one rational reason for abortion right there. And I think I’d be legally safe if I left a person I could not care for with an adoption agency or even emergency room, police station or fire department.

    Hope it passes but as long as Roe v. Wade is law it will be no more than symbolic in the context of abortion.

    nk (09a321)

  11. Next they’ll say that life begins at erection.

    David Ehrenstein (5411c5)

  12. This is the only way the abortion issue is ever going to be resolved. Legislatures have to define when personhood begins. As long as this question remains unaddressed, judges will continue to rely on their personal beliefs.

    Fco. (42897b)

  13. Tinfoil hatted left loons are NOT persons!! By their own definition they are Liberals and they don’t care about what is right, good or decent in this country. They are like 2 year olds holding their breath or throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their way!! It is just barely beginning to dawn on the average “Joe” what has been going on under our noses for thirty plus years. It will be interesting to see just what “Joe” can do about his neglect on these issues.

    Sue (818e60)

  14. The problem that I have seen witht he abortion debate is that both sides appear to be wrong. The pro infanticide crowd seems to approve of abortion even after birth (the so-called partial birth method for example) for the most frivolous of reasons. The extreme antiabortion crowd would like to ban all forms of abortion even when it would directly lead to the death of the mother (and the baby itself once the mother dies).

    Unfortunately, many laws as proposed (on both sides) would forbid abortions when my religious beliefs would require them or allow them when my religious beliefs would forbid them.

    This means that the entire debate leads to trouble.

    Sabba Hillel (b3a959)

  15. If this ballot initiative passes and becomes law we have the perfect situation to go right to the Supreme Court and settle Roe vs. Wade directly.

    chaos (697030)

  16. If anyone’s interested, there are some great debates online concerning the pros and cons of these human life amendments. See especially Jim Bopp’s memo and Bob Bork’s blog debate.

    Bruce (ecf4a1)

  17. Legislatures have to define when personhood begins.

    I rather have it on the ballot as an initiative for voters to decide rather than state legislatures.

    dave (becf31)

  18. In college I used to have a t-shirt that said, “Equal rights for unborn women.”

    Erring on the side of caution always seems prudent.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  19. dave:

    I rather have it on the ballot as an initiative for voters to decide rather than state legislatures.

    Fair enough. As long as it’s out of the activist judges hands.


    Fco. (42897b)

  20. Fco– Agreed. If we’re not going to listen to science about when a human is alive, we should at least ask a large number of folks.

    I get a little uneasy when judges are the ones defining human, honestly. Or people, I should say– I’ve only had a few very ignorant folks deny that a pregnancy involves a human fetus. (Sorry for any spelling errors, at my sister’s and her baby takes priority.)

    Foxfier (55235c)

  21. A referendum is required. Foisting the beliefs of the current legislature on the populace can’t be construed as reasonable, Nor can granting the power of this decision to one judge.
    When the people speak I believe we end up with better law. When day-to-day decisions are made in the thin air of the State house or in the insulated halls of justice we end up with really difficult-to-live-with decisions.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  22. paul from fl – The last thing that the Left would ever want is to present their ideals to the electorate. Abortion and same sex marriage are perfect examples. They do not want the states to have their own say in what can or cannot be permitted within their borders. They do not want the actual voters to have an active say in this type of issue. They fight like hell to keep same sex marriage in the venue of the Courts, as like with abortion, there is not a majority of Americans that share their extremist positions.

    JD (33beff)

  23. Dave #1,

    The best I could find was this article that apparently contains the language that would be presented to Colorado voters:

    “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution defining the term ‘person’ to include any human being from the moment of fertilization as ‘person’ . . . in those provisions of the Colorado constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law?”

    Although similar legislation has been raised before in other states, the article reports this will be the first time voters in any state have actually voted on this issue.

    DRJ (9578af)

  24. Well, I’m not pro-infanticide, and I don’t think a complete ban on abortion is right. But, everyday a run accross someone who would be an ideal candidate for a post-partum abortion!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  25. “Next they say that life begins at erection”

    Scientific evidence indicates that sperm needs the egg in order to create an entirely new separate individual with their own seperate individual DNA; I think this is what is defined as ‘personhood’

    On a spiritual level in order for Yang to exist it needs Yin, in other words male needs female. This also explains why people who engage in same-sex actively cannot reproduce.

    My question is what does pro-choice mean?

    Does it mean she can choose to say it’s life if she need government funded pre-natal care?

    Or, does it mean she can choose to say it’s just a clump of cells if she needs government-funded fianancing to rid herself of a terrible infection?

    That said, how did the lawyers manage to write laws on something they are unable to define?

    syn (7faf4d)

  26. Showing a profound lack of understanding of the processes of conception, … living birth.

    At exactly which instant in the “moment of conception” does a human being come into existence?

    This made more sense when sperm were little men with pointed hats on stools, with tails, swimming about ….

    htom (412a17)

  27. “At exactly which instant in the ‘moment of conception’ does a human being come into existence”

    Science indicates a human being comes into existance the moment one unique DNA hooks up with another unique DNA formulating an entirely unique DNA, or rather a unique human being. In other words, conception occurs when the DNA in the sperm meets the DNA in the egg.

    It never works when DNA in the sperm meets with DNA in the sperm. Spirtually speaking, without the yin there can be no yang.

    syn (7faf4d)

  28. EdWood #8 –

    I agree. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this measure passes. Keep in mind that Colorado Springs, CO is the home for many conservative Christian organizations, including Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family.

    I don’t know what the percentages are among voters, nor how many will be paying attention to this issue. But the Colorado-based groups are passionate about pro-life issues, and often quite politically savvy. They’ll be able to get a LOT of people to the polls for this one.

    Robin Munn (601a81)

  29. And the theme song is “Every Sperm is Sacred” (Monty Python)

    Edward Kale (6880ec)

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