By Peter J. Smith
DENVER, Colorado, May 30, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Colorado citizens will have an historic chance to vote into their constitution a proposed amendment that would define “person” in law to include any human being from the moment of fertilization and challenge the very foundations of the 1973 Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion throughout the United States.
Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman on Thursday approved Amendment 48, entitled “Definition of a Person,” after his office validated 103,377 signatures, far surpassing the 76,047 required for the amendment to appear on the ballot in November. The petition drive was led by Colorado for Equal Rights, which collected more than 130,000 signatures with the help of 1300 dedicated pro-life volunteers.
The proposed amendment would add a new section to Article II of the Colorado state constitution which would read, “the terms ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization.” https://www.coloradoforequalrights.com/files/initiativetext.pdf
The Colorado personhood amendment is the first of its kind in the nation, and an especially historic one, since Colorado, the first US state before Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion, now has a chance to be the first to establish the personhood of the human being from conception.
“Our strategy is that until you define the unborn child as a person, how can the laws protect them, when they can’t even consider them a person?” Kristi Burton, 20, a spokeswoman for Colorado for Equal Rights and key leader behind the ballot initiative, told LifeSiteNews.
“Our goal in this campaign is to have a good positive discussion with the voters of Colorado about how every life counts, every life is valuable,” said Burton. “What is the unborn child? Are they people? And if so don’t they deserve the same rights as the rest of us?”
This concept of personhood is absent from U.S. law and was the driving rationale behind the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the United States. If passed, the Colorado amendment would exploit a fundamental weakness in Roe that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun admitted to exist when he wrote the decision.
Blackmun then had concluded: “If this suggestion of personhood [for the unborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”
“For the first time in 40 years of ‘legalized’ child killing, pro-lifers have moved an entire state to consider the God-given right to life of the unborn,” stated Brian Rohrbough, president of American Right to Life.
Although Colorado for Equal Rights has run a very economical campaign so far, it is looking to muster greatly needed donations as the abortion industry masses a juggernaut of financial resources to defeat the initiative in this crucial phase of the campaign.
“The so-called ‘Human Life Amendment’ is dangerous and deceptive,” said Protect Families, Protect Choice, a pro-abortion front group dedicated to defeating the measure, in a statement. “This amendment could make abortion illegal at ALL times, even in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. It could outlaw abortion even in the cases of rape, incest and when a woman’s life is at risk.”
“The amendment is so extreme it could even ban several common forms of birth control and prohibit in-vitro fertilization and lifesaving stem cell research.”
However, while pro-abortion lobbies, including Planned Parenthood, marshal massive financial and legal resources from across the United States to defeat the proposed initiative, the state’s largest pro-life organization, the Catholic Church in Colorado led by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, has opted to remain on the sidelines.
Although many Catholics have signed on the petitions, and over half the volunteers are Catholic, Chaput and the other two bishops of the Colorado Catholic Conference, have decided for the time being not to identify the Church with the proposed personhood amendment, nor devote its enormous spiritual and financial resources into procuring victory.
“We commend the goal of this effort to end abortion. Individual Catholics may choose to work for its passage. The bishops’ spokeswoman Jennifer Kraska told the Denver Post in February. “At the same time, we recognize that other people committed to the sanctity of life have raised serious questions about this specific amendment’s timing and content.”
LifeSiteNews requested comment from Kraska, however none was received by press time on account of the consecration of James D. Conley as the new auxiliary bishop.
Burton, however, told LifeSiteNews that she and many other pro-life advocates, including the Thomas More Law Center, disagree and believe the time is ripe for a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, especially at a point in history when the next appointment to the Supreme Court may come from a pro-abortion Democratic president.
“We believe that now is always the right time to do what’s right,” said Burton. “Martin Luther King, Jr. said that, and he said it of the civil rights issue of his day, and I believe protecting the unborn child is in a way the civil rights issue of our day. It’s never right to stand back and say ‘well someday we’ll get that done.’ If it’s right let’s get it done now.”
To visit and learn more about Colorado for Equal Rights and the historic personhood amendment:
To read an abbreviated list of organized supporters including legal organizations, international/national/state pro-life groups and leaders, churches, businesses, and social and political leaders behind the Colorado Human Life Amendment:
To respectfully contact Archbishop Charles Chaput
1300 South Steele Street
Denver, CO 80210
Email: [email protected]
See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
130,000 in Colorado Sign Petition to Grant Full Legal Protection to Unborn Children
Colorado Supreme Court Permits Embryonic Personhood Ballot Measure
Colorado Pro-life Group Introduces Amendment Recognizing “Personhood” of Unborn Child