Wording changed on personhood proposal for 2012

Even though Colorado voters have resoundingly rejected the idea twice, the group behind a proposed constitutional amendment declaring an unborn child a person is trying to get on the ballot again.

The Colorado Initiative Title Setting Review Board approved language Thursday for a proposed measure that would appear on the 2012 ballot, but with wording that is different than previous efforts.

Instead of declaring someone a person at the point of conception, next year’s proposal is more directly aimed at prohibiting abortions in the state, including in cases of rape or incest.

It does that by barring the termination of a person “prior to and during birth,” and defines a human being as a person at “any stage of development.”

Two previous ballot measures in 2008 and 2010 failed, with more than 70 percent of Colorado voters rejecting the idea each time.

Supporters of the proposal couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday, but the main group behind it, Personhood Colorado, said on its website it would continue to advocate for a right-to-life amendment until one is passed.

The group fighting the measure, Protect Families Protect Choices, said it also would continue to battle the idea as it has for previous personhood measures.

“While we believe that the outcomes of the 2012 proposed measure would be just as dangerous as the previous two attempts, the new language in the 2012 measure appears to create a plethora of new problems that will require additional legal analysis,” said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “The new language is merely a smokescreen for Personhood Colorado’s real agenda, which is to restrict a woman’s ability to make personal, private medical decisions about her own body.”

Monica McCafferty, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, said the Protect Families group is asking for a rehearing of the proposal before the title board to address the single-subject issue.

If the board still approves the measure, the matter is expected to be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, she said.

By law, supporters of the proposal are barred from gathering signatures to get the measure on the ballot until all legal challenges have been exhausted.


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