Activism Reproductive Rights

Campaign Against Colorado Personhood Initiative Launches

Women’s rights organizations, medical groups, and religious leaders joined several activists yesterday at a rally on the steps of the Colorado state capitol to launch a campaign against a new personhood initiative on the state’s November ballot.

via Xiao Zhuli
via Xiao Zhuli

The No on 67 campaign opposes Amendment 67, otherwise known as the Brady Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment that would change the definition of “person” and “child” in the Colorado Criminal Code and Wrongful Death act to include “unborn human beings.” A similar initiative was on the ballot in 2008 and 2010, but it was defeated both times by a wide margin.

If passed, the amendment would have extreme repercussions, banning abortion in all cases, emergency contraception and birth control, and possibly in-vitro fertilization. Under a similar measure, a woman in Wisconsin was arrested after she sought early prenatal care and told health care workers about her prior use of painkillers and her attempts to stop use on her own.

“Amendment 67 is bad medicine for women and for Colorado,” said Dr. Ruben Alvero, a speaker at the rally. “It would allow the government and the courts to violate the sanctity of doctor/patient privacy, and allow government access to women’s private medical records.”

The amendment is yet another thinly veiled attempt at “personhood” led by Personhood USA. Supporters claim that the measure will help pregnant women get justice if crimes committed against them cause them to miscarry. However, Colorado already has a law, the Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act, that addresses that very issue. Instead, women’s rights advocates worry the language in Amendment 67 could harm pregnant woman by opening up to criminal investigation of any woman who has an abortion or miscarries.

A similar measure will be on the ballot in North Dakota this November, as well as a measure in Tennessee to amend that state’s constitution to declare that there is no right to an abortion in the state.

Media Resources: Denver Post 7/22/14; RH Reality Check 7/23/14; Feminist Newswire 3/22/13, 10/4/13, 10/16/13; Tennessee Secretary of State

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