Editorial: Protect reproductive rights
June 8, 2008
It’s not too early to start thinking about what you’re going to be asked to vote for this November.
Specifically, Colorado voters will be asked to approve is the “Personhood Initiative,” an amendment to the state’s Constitution that would define the term “person” to include any human being from the moment of fertilization.
The amendment is being supported by pro-life supporters like Focus on the Family and the American Right to Life group.
Not only would passing this amendment threaten the legality of abortion in Colorado ” which is exactly what supporters of the amendment want ” it also could provide the groundwork to outlaw certain types of birth control, including the widely used birth control pill.
Polls show that the majority of Americans believe abortion should generally be legal, and considerably more Americans believe that birth control is the best way to prevent unintended pregnancies.
In fact, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health Care Poll released in 2006, 81 percent of Americans believe that providing access to birth control is a good way to reduce the need for abortion.
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Kristi Burton, the initiative’s 20-year-old sponsor, argues that approving the amendment would not ban abortion or the Pill outright. But it certainly would provide the groundwork to ban both, and that’s why so many anti-abortion groups are throwing their support behind Burton’s cause.
Having this amendment on the books could even threaten the rights of couples who are trying to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization. Doctors usually fertilize several eggs but implant only a few into a woman’s uterus. Should the rest of those fertilized eggs have a right to be implanted, too?
The anti-abortion movement’s tactics are discouraging. Not only is the “person” amendment a sneaky way to attack reproductive rights, it could threaten the best way to prevent abortion in the first place by cutting off access to safe, reliable and legal birth control.
Coloradans should see through the seemingly innocuous language supporters are using to promote the bill and consider how adding such an amendment to the state’s Constitution could threaten their family planning options and those of their fellow citizens.
There are going to be plenty of questions on the November ballot to puzzle over, but this is a relatively simple one to answer in advance: no.