Denver Post, August 6, 2012 by Electa Draper
The Colorado Personhood Coalition Monday submitted more than 121,000 signatures to the secretary of state to get its anti-abortion measure on the November ballot.
The group, which claims 1,500 volunteers and the engagement of 500 churches in the cause, needs about 86,000 validated signatures to get the measure before voters again. This would be the group’s third try since 2008 to amend the state Constitution.
Personhood USA founder Keith Mason said the ballot language this year is different. It would extend constitutional rights to all humans at any stage of development by stating that protections of life “apply equally to all innocent persons.” It would “prohibit the intentional killing of any innocent person.”
Mason said the amendment expressly would not prohibit all forms of contraception, in vitro fertilization or medical treatment for a pregnant woman with a life-threatening medical condition. It would not criminalize spontaneous miscarriages, he said, as opponents have claimed past measures would.
Opponents with the NO Personhood campaign said they would work to defeat the measure for a third time and to protect the right of every woman to make her own decisions regarding her personal reproductive health.
The NO Personhood coalition, which includes Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and the Colorado Association for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, spent $2 million fighting personhood in the last two elections.
NO Personhood spokeswoman Emilie Ailts, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, said eight other states have already turned down proposed 2012 personhood ballot and legislative measures.
“This is a colossal waste of time and funds that could go to women and children who don’t get good prenatal and postnatal care,” Ailts said of the campaigns. “(Proponents) know it’s a failing campaign, yet they disregard the needs of women and children who are alive and unhealthy today.”
Proponents said they won’t stop fighting to end the loss of innocent human lives.
“Life is precious at every stage of human development,” said ballot initiative sponsor Rosalinda Lozano.
Colorado became the first state to legalize abortion in 1967, she said. “It’s time to stop the madness.”