For the second time in as many years, Colorado will have on their ballot an Amendment to their state constitution stating that “the term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.” In other words, a person would include a fertilized human egg. Needless to say, this language is nothing more than a smoke screen to outlaw abortion, birth control and assisted reproduction – in addition to making a woman’s body a potential crime scene worthy of a CSI Colorado television episode should she have the misfortune of miscarrying. Among other things, this Amendment would:
* Ban all abortions, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the pregnant woman’s life.
* Outlaw birth control other than “barrier methods.” Hormonal/device birth control can prevent the implantation of an egg.
* Restrict health care. A pregnant woman with cancer could be refused chemotherapy, because such treatment might put the embryo at risk.
* Prohibit stem cell research.
* Criminalize miscarriage. Because everything a pregnant woman does or does not do affects pregnancy outcome, any miscarriage could be investigated as a homicide or as manslaughter. This has already happened in states with feticide laws; a pregnant woman in Iowa was recently arrested and jailed for tripping down stairs.
* Create a legal nightmare. Amendment 62 would impact over 20,000 state and local statutes, complicating property rights, inheritance rights, and more. “Does a fertilized egg frozen in a freezer somewhere become an heir to someone’s estate?” asks Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.
In addition, this anti-choice amendment would bring about an end to IVF treatment in Colorado. Fortunately, if past election results are any predictor in this voting cycle, Amendment 62 has little chance of prevailing as in its earlier incarnation, it lost by more than a 3-1 margin. Beyond that, I do not see how such an Amendment would survive a constituional challege as it clearly violates the fundamental constitutional right to procreate.
Earlier today, in a blow to supporters of this ballot measure, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by proponents that sought to change the language in the state voter’s guide that allegedly slanted and misrepresented the nature of the Amendment. You can read a primer on this ballot initiative here.