Kristi Burton: Amendment 48: Can truth go too far?
“Amendment 48 ” It simply goes too far.” It’s the mantra of the opponents of the Personhood Amendment. Dottie Lamm and Linda Campbell, for example, use it in an editorial printed in several newspapers across the state. It’s been repeated until you’re probably hearing it in your sleep, but does it mean anything?
Resorting to repetitive use of a meaningless phrase is a propaganda tactic commonly employed when there is no substance to an argument. Opponents of 48 are hoping for what psychologists call a “conditioned response.” You step into the voting booth and when you see Amendment 48 that little phrase automatically jumps into your head and you vote no. But before you vote, ask yourself this: Is the phrase true?
The Personhood Amendment defines a person in the state Constitution as beginning at the moment of conception. If it’s true that human life begins at conception, is there any way acknowledging that truth can “go too far?”
It has been interesting to watch the strategy of the “no on 48” campaign. They know if they attempt to contend human life doesn’t begin at conception they’re arguing with virtually every geneticist and embryology textbook available. So instead, they take issue with the dictionary. They concede that human life begins at conception, but claim “personhood” doesn’t begin until some later, yet to be determined, date. They never come out and say it, but they assume it’s OK to “terminate” a developing human until he or she reaches that undefined point of “personhood.” If they simply pick up any dictionary and look up “person,” they will find the definition: “A human being.” That’s what it’s meant for the last several centuries. “Person” and “human being” have always been the same thing, but the no on 48 folks plan to change all that. And, they do it as though no one should even question their totally illogical and false premise. They simply assume it’s true and expect you to do the same.
Perhaps the best scientific source on the subject is the father of modern genetics, Jerome Lejeune, professor of genetics at the University of Rene Descartes in Paris. On June 7, 1999, Lejeune told a Louisiana Legislature House Committee, “As far as your nature is concerned, I see no difference between the early person that you were at conception and the later person that you are now. You were, and are, a human being.” Note that to Lejeune, “person” and “human being” mean the same thing.
The rest of the arguments of the no on 48 campaign are designed to convince you the amendment will interfere with women’s health care and cause women who have miscarriages to be carted off to jail. These scare tactics aren’t true. Dottie Lamm and Linda Campbell go on at length about the possible affects of the amendment. They keep using the term, “it could” do this or that in their attempt to frighten voters.
The amendment merely extends protection to both mother and baby. It recognizes that women also are persons. I’m a woman and will probably marry and have children someday. Would I help create a law intended to unduly endanger myself?
Every person counts. It’s time to return to common sense and vote for what we know is true. Vote yes on 48.
Kristi Burton is the initiative sponsor of Amendment 48, also knowns as the Colorado
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