Time for Personhood Colorado 
to recognize its cause is lost

They’re back! Unfazed either by earlier failures to pass their constitutional initiatives to grant the rights of a living human being to a fertilized egg, zygote, embryo or fetus, the people behind Personhood Colorado are back with the same goal of defining any phase of human development from conception to birth as a “person” or “child” in the eyes of the law.

Anticipating this move, Democrats in the Legislature moved quickly last year to pass the Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act. This law requires the state to “protect pregnant women,” and gives a woman who loses her fetus as the result of a crime legal recourse.

However, the Crimes Against Pregnant Women bill specifically does not “confer personhood, or any rights associated with that status, on a human being at any time prior to live birth.”

That legislative action should have ended the crusade by Personhood Colorado and some sympathetic Republcans in the Legislature to require the state to recognize an unborn human being at some point prior to birth as a “person” or “child,” with the same rights as a living individual.

After years of failing to convince Coloradans to support their efforts to make all abortion a crime, this year’s initiative introduces a new strategy. The anti-abortion crusade now focuses on a single strategy, called the Brady Amendment or the Brady Project, to push the anti-abortion efforts.

The name was chosen by Longmont resident Heather Surovik. She was eight-months pregnant in 2012 when she was injured in a car crash. The fetus she was carrying, already named Brady, did not survive the accident.

Personhood Colorado has found a compelling new face in Surovik for its campaign. When she discovered that the drunk driver who killed the baby in her womb could not be prosecuted for homicide, she threw herself into the personhood movement.

“Brady was eight pounds, two ounces — he was a person!” she proclaimed. “And Planned Parenthood and the media are trying to take the focus off of Brady, to ignore him to push their own agendas. Let me be clear: This amendment is about Brady, and his life, and justice for women who have suffered the tragedy that I have suffered.”

Not really.

This will be the third time Colorado voters have been asked to support constitutional amendments to ban abortions. The first effort came in 2008, when it was rejected by about three to one. Another effort failed in 2010 with similar margins.

In 2012, the year of Surovik’s accident, Personhood Colorado was unable to collect a sufficient number of valid voters’ signatures to put the personhood amendment on the ballot.

Possibly propelled by Surovik’s testimony, Personhood Colorado last year collected more than 140,000 signatures — well above the required 86,105 — to put the anti-abortion bill on the ballot. Its title was set, and it was verified in 2013 to be on this November’s ballot.

Because its direct assaults on women’s right to make their own reproductive choices failed so completely, the ever-adaptable personhood crusade resorted to stealth. As Tom Tomasic pointed out in the Colorado Independent, this obviously anti-abortion ballot initiative never mentions abortion.

Instead, Amendment 67, the Colorado Definition of Person and Child Inititative, asks: “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining ‘person’ and ‘child’ in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings?”

That clever language may have helped Personhood Colorado rebound to gather 140,000 signatures to place its initiative on the ballot, but when votes are tallied, it is likely to meet the same fate as its predecessors — both rejected by more than 70 percent of Colorado voters.

Four failed efforts should be sufficient to convince even the most die-hard anti-abortion crusaders in Colorado that theirs is a lost cause.

Coloradans value their right to choose, and they show no signs of conceding that freedom to the rigid standards of conservative ideology.

Bill Grant lives in Grand Junction. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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The loss of a child is traumatic for any woman. I gave birth to a premature son years ago, and am still sad that I never got to raise a child. But there are many many reasons why the “Personhood” bill is wrong for women. There are certain methods of birth control, as an example, that would become illegal if a zygote is given the same status as a woman. I’m way past the point of needing birth control, but young woman who are just starting their reproductive lives need to become informed about the implications of this proposed constitutional amendment. It isn’t as simple as some people make it out to be.

Great. Here we go again with the intellectually shallow “cutesy-ness” and hard-hearted sophistry of Good Old Bill Grant.
I have a lot more sympathy for the pro-life crown than the pro-death crowd which pretends that “choice” is no more involved than choosing to clip a toenail. At least they are trying to save lives instead of snuffing them out.
The real problem is the massive ignorance and self-absorption of our “fall of the Roman Empire” culture.
So-called “God’s Law” (aka “natural” law based on the Golden Rule and Ten Commandments) is love-based, free-will-based and protects the “natural” rights of all individuals 1) equally, 2) separately, and 3) simultaneously — something which is impossible for “positive” human law. Human law is fear-based, coercion-based, and pits the “legal” rights of one person against the “legal” rights of another person. It creates what is called the “Hegelian Dialectic”: 1) the right to life of the child (thesis) versus 2) the right to privacy of the mother (antithesis), which after spending tons of money on lawyers, arrives at a phony unworkable “resolution” (synthesis). Human law benefits only lawyers who have a government-granted commercial monopoly on access to justice.
I have a real problem with Grant and his ilk because of the grotesque self-evident intellectual dishonesty in pretending that killing a pre-born human is actually a woman’s “health decision”, when the intellectually honest, if politically difficult, real question is: at what point in a pre-born child’s development does it deserve the same legal protections as a post-birth child?
Ignoring the fact that Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) was fraudulently placed before the U.S. Supreme Court, it was about as good a decision as human law is capable of making. It said that the mother’s right of privacy trumps the child’s right to life during the first trimester. Problem is, the Supremes “slippery sloped” the first trimester into partial-birth abortion in Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).
In my view, only one option remains for human law to resolve the political problem of abortion, and that resolution will of necessity be opposed by the dead-ender zealots on both sides of the problem, but combined they probably only amount to less than ten percent of the population. I believe over ninety percent of the population could support an amendment to the United States Constitution which makes any and all first trimester abortions legal, all third trimester abortions illegal (except to save the life of the mother), and leaves second trimester abortions to the discretion of the state legislatures.
I say this as a person whose personal faith holds that abortion is murder, but who also intellectually understands the serious limitations of inherently unsustainable and ever-changing human law.
Interested persons can read my proposed amendment at http://bit.ly/1hj4ycd.

Bill Grant’s timely column – “Time for Personhood Colorado to recognize its cause is lost” – exposes “personhood” proponents for what they are:  superficially noble but misguided absolutists seeking to exploit public sympathy for partisan political gain.

Heather Surovik’s “Brady Project” has already achieved a laudable objective – last year’s “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act” – which, by criminalizing both reckless and/or negligent acts causing death or injury to a “pre-born”, in effect grants the same civil right to sue for wrongful death and/or injury as any “person” (albeit, exercised by a survivor). 

Contrary to Judeo-Christian tradition, the “personhood” movement rests on the fallacious moral premise that “every human life is sacred” – which applies an overly individualized interpretation, as opposed to the more collective:  “all human life is sacred”.

By countenancing aggressive wars and capital punishment for dozens of offenses, the Old Testament teaches that no particular human life is really “sacred”, because compliance with “God’s Law” was deemed vital to the survival of the “Chosen People” – as a group.

The New Testament makes no mention of the “pre-born”, but its Sermon on the Mount teaches compassion for the already-born – because promoting the “common good” is vital to the perpetuation of the human species.

“Personhood” advocates would subordinate the fundamental human and constitutional rights of already-born women to the dubious “rights” of non-viable fetuses – with total disregard for the practical consequences.  Not only would they cavalierly accelerate the proliferation of human misery attendant to over-population – beginning with unwanted children—but they would mindlessly spend billions on a labyrinth of legal enforcement mechanisms, better spent on aiding the neediest already among us.

The real reason for such “personhood” initiatives is to promote voter turnout in 2014 by religious zealots—who seek to impose their version of “sharia law” on the rest of us.

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