In a long night of bad news for the pro-choice community and for basically every other sector of the larger progressive movement, there was at least one important victory.
Amendment 62, the so-called “personhood” amendment, went down to defeat by a large margin–72 percent voting against to 28 percent voting as of this writing.
This is the second time it has been defeated.
We’ve written quite a bit here about Amendment 62 (including work done by Wendy Norris, Robin Marty, Amie Newman and me this past year), and have closely followed the movement that seeks to convey personhood on fertilized eggs. The Colorado amendment, which was first attempted in 2008, would have mandated that a fertilized egg have the same rights as a born human person from the moment of conception.
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It would have outlawed abortion at every stage of gestation, would have outlawed all forms of hormonal contraception, and would have made it difficult if not impossible for pregnant women to receive medical treatment if there was any chance of harming the pregnancy. In short, it would have privileged the survival of a fertilized egg over a living, breathing woman.
As we noted earlier and according to NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, Amendment 62, if passed, would have:
Increased unintended and unwanted pregnancies.
The most effective forms of birth control like the pill, injectibles like Implanon and Depo-Provera, NuvaRing, the patch, and IUDs work primarily by inhibiting release of an egg into the womb. They also alter the lining of a woman’s uterine wall in a way that makes the uterus inhospitable to fertilized eggs, thereby inhibiting implantation of a fertilized egg if fertilization does occur — preventing a pregnancy from occurring. By giving rights to fertilized eggs, Amendment 62 would make it illegal to use these forms of birth control.
Severely restricted medical research and advances in reproductive technology
One of the most common forms of assisted reproductive technology is in-vitro fertilization, where several fertilized eggs are created in a lab environment. Once created, some of these fertilized eggs are injected into a woman’s body with the hope that implantation will occur and the woman’s body will begin producing the hormones necessary to sustain a pregnancy. Because of the cost of this procedure, more fertilized eggs are usually produced than are used. Giving legal rights to fertilized eggs could ban in-vitro fertilization — as well as some stem cell research that is being used to find cures for chronic diseases and disabilities.
Ignores the prevalence of miscarriage and opened the door for criminal investigations into miscarriages and situations when a woman’s body rejected implantation of a fertilized egg:
Amendment 62 fails to recognize the prevalence of miscarriages (both when a woman is aware of being pregnant and when she is not) and nonimplantation – even when a woman is not using a contraceptive method that can inhibit implantation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that between one-third and one-half of all fertilized eggs never fully implant.
Subjected women facing ectopic pregnancies to intrusion by politicians and the courts.
Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube or cervix. Because the location of implantation is not large enough to allow full gestation of the developing fetus, an ectopic pregnancy could result in the rupture of the fallopian tube, cervix, or other organ where implantation occurred if the pregnancy is not removed.
Tonight, the people of Colorado rejected this dangerous amendment by a wide margin. It is clear, however, that its proponents will be back, and will be trying to pass similar amendments in other states, such as Mississippi. We will be tracking these as well.