‘No’ on Amendment 62

Two years ago, Colorado voters resoundingly rejected a “personhood” amendment to the state Constitution, which would have defined a person — with all the rights of a Colorado resident — as existing from the beginning of conception.

It was an attempt to outlaw abortion in Colorado, and voters recognized that. They opposed it by a margin of nearly three to one.

This year, proponents are back with a slightly different amendment — defining personhood from the beginning of biological development of a human being.

They also have the backing of a national group, Personhood USA and have sued the Colorado Legislative Council for its Blue Book analysis of the amendment.

But even with different wording, more money and lawsuits against impartial analysts, the intent is the same: to prohibit abortions in Colorado in all circumstances.

If proponents were upfront with the people of Colorado, they would simply present the state’s voters with a ballot measure that said just that: “Shall Colorado prohibit a woman from having an abortion under any circumstances.”

But no doubt they realize that a “Yes” vote on such a straightforward question would be extremely unlikely.

So they go with a confusing amendment that supposedly only tries to define what a person is. But it takes direct aim at the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which found that a fetus in the first trimester isn’t a person.

They object to the Blue Book suggesting what it means to give equal protection to a fetus in the earliest stages of development.

Among other things, the Colorado Constitution says a person has inalienable rights that include a right to survive and a right to defend against threats to safety.

Amendment 62, the Blue Book says, “could restrict a doctor from using certain medical procedures and treatments.” It also says “the measure may subject doctors and nurses to legal action for providing medical care to a woman of child-bearing age if that care could affect a ‘person’ other than the identified patient.”

Proponents of Amendment 62 object to that statement. It’s a part of the basis of their lawsuit, according to The Denver Post.

But the reality is that any health provider would have to be exceedingly cautious in treating a woman of child-bearing age. Even if a doctor didn’t know a woman was pregnant, if she was prescribed drugs or other treatments that harmed a fetus in her womb, the doctor could be held criminally or civilly liable.

Should a woman with cancer undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment if there were the slightest chance she might be pregnant? Medical caregivers would have to weigh the needs of the woman against the potential liability for treating her and possibly harming a fertilized egg.

What about a woman who seeks to use morning-after birth control? Even in the case of rape? There is legal uncertainty.

The unintended consequences of this amendment are impossible to predict, but they are likely to be much broader and have greater impact on health care than proponents want to admit.

The intended consequences, however, are blatantly obvious — the end of legal abortions in Colorado, despite what the U.S. Supreme Court said.

Vote “No” on Amendment 62.


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