Roundup: Colorado Personhood Sues State Voter Guide

Beth Saunders

The egg-as-person folks in Colorado are upset about a voter guide that describes how women will lose the rights to their own bodies if the amendment passes, and a rally will be held to protest the amendment.

Proponents of the Personhood Amendment in Colorado are suing the Colorado Legislative Council, which distributes the State Ballot Information Booklet, a neutral source of information on ballot measures in the state. They feel the booklet, also called the Blue Book,  is biased against Amendment 62. Although the Blue Book has already been mailed – and is available online – they are hoping for a correction to be mailed to voters.

According to the Denver Post:

(Gualberto) Garcia-Jones said that the Blue Book’s arguments against Amendment 62 are false because it could never, as the booklet states, cause women to be denied medical treatment for a miscarriage. The amendment could not, he said, put doctors and other health professionals at risk of legal action for providing medical care to women of childbearing age.

It is also demonstrably false, Mason said, that “the beginning of biological development” has no established legal meaning and is not an acceptable medical or scientific term, as the Blue Book states. Supporters said they provided statements by scientists and lawyers to the contrary.

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“This is a gross injustice” to 130,000 Coloradans who petitioned to get the initiative on the ballot, Mason said. “There is authority in the Blue Book. There’s trust in the process. This will have an effect” on the vote.

They are screeching “injustice!” because they say a woman would never be denied treatment for a miscarriage? What are some of the other things a woman could be denied if this amendment came to pass? According to the (allegedly bias) Blue Book:

1) Amendment 62 may limit the ability of individuals and families to make important health care decisions. The measure could be used to prohibit or limit access to medical care, including abortions for victims of rape or incest, and even when a woman’s life is in danger. Amendment 62 may also limit access to emergency contraception, commonly used forms of birth control, and treatment for miscarriages, tubal pregnancies, cancer, and infertility. The measure may restrict some stem cell research that could lead to life-saving therapies for a variety of disabilities and illnesses.

2) Amendment 62 allows government intrusion in the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship and could limit the exercise of independent medical judgment. The measure could restrict a doctor from using certain medical procedures and treatments. Further, “the beginning of biological development” cannot be easily and conclusively pinpointed. Therefore, the measure may subject doctors and nurses to legal action for providing medical care to a woman of child-bearing age if that care could affect a “person” other than the identified patient.

3) The effects of Amendment 62’s change to the constitution are unclear. The measure applies certain rights from “the beginning of biological development,” a term which is not defined within the measure, has no established legal meaning, and is not an accepted medical or scientific term. The legislature and the courts will have to decide how a wide variety of laws, including property rights and criminal laws, will apply from “the beginning of biological development.”

Notice they are not protesting that it’s a falsehood that women would be denied abortion, contraception, or treatment for ectopic pregnancies, cancer, or infertility. To advocates for the Personhood amendment, is it then a positive outcome if women are denied those health services?

So, how did the Personhood folks end up with a description they are unhappy with?

The Denver Daily News may have the answer.

The group of pro-lifers says none of more than 70 pages of notes that they submitted to Legislative Council was used in the Blue Book. They say that the final language was not sent to them, and they didn’t find out about the language until this week when they looked online. Proponents say had they been notified of the final language sooner, they could have filed objections without having to file a lawsuit in Denver District Court.

Seventy pages of notes!?! For a three-paragraph description? No wonder the Blue Book people wrote it themselves.

You can read the complete arguments for and against the Personhood amendment in the Blue Book, starting on page sixteen.

If you are in the Colorado Springs area, and wish to rally against the Personhood amendment, a “No on 62” rally will be held tomorrow, September 23. Speakers include Colorado Springs businessman and activist Richard Skorman; Rosemary Harris Lytle, 9-5 National Association of Working Women; Rev. Benjamin Broadbent, First Congregational Church; and Shelby Knox, National Youth Advocate.

Mini-Roundup: The anti-choicers are pre-protesting these days. The Family Research Council is telling its supporters to strong-arm pharmacists into not carrying the new, not-even-available-yet, emergency contraceptive ella. Because “women might inadvertently give themselves abortions.”  Meanwhile, the American Life League is protesting the creation of a 2-1-1 line that would refer people for social services and volunteer opportunities. Because women might be referred to Planned Parenthood.

Sep 21

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