Fetus issue on ballot again; voters will see health care question

In addition to the three most controversial measures on this fall’s ballot, a slew of others are getting voters’ attention.

Among them is Amendment 62, which would declare a fetus a person at “the beginning of the biological development.” It is virtually identical to a measure Colorado voters resoundingly defeated in 2008, with 73 percent of voters against that measure.

The only difference with this year’s measure is it replaces “at conception” from 2008’s Amendment 48 with “biological development” for a fetus to be declared a person.

Unlike in the 2008 campaign, proponents this year admit it is an attempt to end the practice of abortion.

“The U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States (Roe v. Wade) found that the unborn were not included in the word ‘person’ as used in the U.S. Constitution,” according to the “Arguments For” section of the Blue Book, the Legislative Council’s analysis of each of the nine measures on the fall ballot.

“If each human life, from the beginning of biological development, is recognized as a person under Colorado’s bill of rights, Amendment 62 may provide support for legal challenges to prohibit abortions in Colorado.”

As in 2008, opponents fear the idea could backfire by leading the courts to strengthen the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

There are similar efforts to pass the so-called personhood amendments in at least 14 other states.

Another controversial measure on the Nov. 2 ballot, Amendment 63, asks voters if they want to attempt to opt the state out of the federal health care reform measure approved by Congress earlier this year.

The measure is the product of the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank based in Golden.

The “Arguments Against” section of the Blue Book says the measure is nothing more than a statement because a state constitutional amendment cannot trump federal laws.

The “Arguments For” section, too, says it’s a statement against the reform measure, but adds it might bolster a lawsuit against the federal government that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has joined seeking to declare the measure unconstitutional.

A third controversial measure is pitting bail-bonding companies against prosecutors and court workers. It would call for virtually closing down the 10 pretrial-service programs around the state, including one in Mesa County.

Under Proposition 102, judges would be limited in when they can assign defendants to pretrial programs, which are designed to monitor defendants before their trial dates and help ensure they make required court appearances.

Bail-bonding workers say pretrial programs are unfairly taking away much of their business, while prosecutors contend the programs are invaluable tools in improving public safety.


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