Abortion opponents try again on Colorado amendment
COLORADO SPRINGS – Abortion opponents in Colorado and Montana want to try again to pass amendments giving human rights to embryos.
Colorado and Montana Right to Life groups and Personhood USA say they will submit new initiatives this week in hopes of getting the measure on 2010 ballots.
Last year, Colorado voters decided 3-to-1 against a similar measure to define fertilized human embryos as people in the state constitution.
Abortion opponents have tried and failed to put similar “personhood” amendments to votes in Georgia and Oregon. North Dakota’s Legislature recently rejected a “personhood” bill.
Abortion opponents say they think they’ll fare better next year in Colorado with better funding and a new campaign strategy.
“The fact that we got over half a million Coloradans to vote for personhood in 2008 shows us that people care about ensuring that all humans are protected under the law,” Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of Personhood Colorado, told The (Colorado Springs) Gazette. The group is an arm of the national Arvada, Colo.-based organization Personhood USA, which was formed specifically to help anti-abortion groups throughout the nation get personhood amendments on state ballots.
Last year’s Colorado campaign was largely limited to church visits and talk-show radio appearances. Meanwhile, opponents, including abortion-rights groups, raised about three times more money, held rallies at college campuses and put out yard signs across the state.
Garcia Jones says the initiatives supporters will run a smarter campaign this time.
The language of the Colorado initiative has also been tweaked. Rather than defining a person as “any human being from the moment of fertilization,” the new initiative will establish personhood in “every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”
In Montana, abortion opponents planned to deliver an amendment proposal Wednesday to state officials and hold a rally on the Capitol steps. A Thursday rally is planned in Denver.
Abortion-rights activists weren’t overly concerned about the new campaigns.
“It gives us another opportunity to explain how personhood amendments threaten all pregnant women, including those going to term,” said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women in New York.
Jacy Montoya, head of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights in Denver, told The Gazette that Coloradans are “uncomfortable with the government and strangers making personal decisions for families.”
Jones expects volunteers to start collecting signatures by September to get the personhood initiative on the 2010 ballot. They’ll need signatures from about 49,000 voters in Montana and about 70,000 voters in Colorado to have the measures on statewide ballots.
The alert system has a database that tracks physical addresses and can send messages within a defined area.