‘No’ on Amend. 48

As Coloradans wade through their massive ballots this election season, they ought to pay particular attention to Amendment 48 — the so-called “personhood” amendment.

Then they should vote “No” on the measure. In fact, we hope Colorado voters as a whole resoundingly reject Amendment 48.

It’s no secret that Amendment 48 is intended to end abortion.The amendment states that under the state Constitution, “the terms ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization.” And the due-process rights of every person are guaranteed under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

So a fertilized egg would have the same rights as any person. It would be illegal to “kill” a fertilized egg through a procedure such as abortion — even in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother was endangered.

But Amendment 48 raises legal questions beyond the abortion issue, in part because it says life begins when an egg is fertilized, not when the egg attaches to the uterine wall and begins developing toward becoming a fetus.

For instance, if a woman suffers a miscarriage early in her pregnancy, could she be found guilty of negligence based on activities she engaged in, perhaps before she even knew she was pregnant?

Another question is whether Amendment 48 would prohibit such contraceptives as birth-control pills and IUDs, which prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterus.

What about in-vitro fertilization? When couples use that procedure, there are generally multiple fertilized eggs, but only some are implanted in the woman’s uterus. The others may eventually be discarded. Would that be murder?

There are more questions about cancer treatments a woman might undergo that could destroy a fertilized egg, and issues involving stem-cell research.

Not to worry, say Amendment 48 proponents. The intent of the amendment is to protect the “preborn” and not to open up all sorts of obscure legal questions.

But Coloradans have had abundant experience in recent years with amendments that prove to have consequences far beyond what their proponents predicted.

When Catholic leaders in Colorado and conservative Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer — well-known opponents of abortion — refuse to endorse Amendment 48, you know there are serious problems with the measure.

Those serious problems provide ample reason for all Coloradans to vote “No” on Amendment 48.


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