Colorado Supreme Court Allows 2008 Anti-Abortion Ballot Initiative

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 7-0 this week to allow a proposed ballot initiative for the November 2008 election that would define a fertilized egg as a person. Colorado for Equal Rights, the anti-abortion group advocating the initiative, now has six months collect 76,000 signatures in order to place the initiative on the November 2008 ballot.

Reproductive rights advocates challenged the initiative on the grounds that the title is misleading to voters, reports the Denver Post. “Proponents of this initiative have publicly stated that the goal is to make all abortion illegal, but nothing in the language of the initiative or its title even mentions abortion,” said Kathryn Wittenben, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, “If that’s not misleading, I don’t know what is.”

The measure, if passed by voters, would amend the state constitution to extend constitutional protections to fertilized eggs. The goal would be to effectively make all abortion illegal under Colorado state law. However, federal constitutional rights under Roe v Wade, as long as the Supreme Court upholds it, would still make abortion legal in Colorado. Such deceptive state efforts are designed to put state laws in place to make abortion illegal for if and when Roe is reversed.

According to NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Who Decides 2006 report (PDF), “15 states already have bans on abortion throughout pregnancy that may become enforceable if Roe is overturned: AL, AZ, AR, CO, DE, LA, MA, MI, MS, NM, OK, UT, VT, WV, WI. 11 states have laws on the books expressing an intention to outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned, or similar anti-choice policy positions, sometimes called ‘trigger laws’: AR, ID, IL, KY, LA, MO, NE, ND, PA, SD, UT.”

This law could also affect any woman using hormone-based birth control or in-vitro fertilization. “This measure is far outside the mainstream of Colorado,” said Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, “and voters will not support it.”


Daily Women�s Health Policy Report 11/15/07; Denver Post 11/14/07; NARAL Who Decides Report 2006

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