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Supporters, Opponents of Abortion Rights Disagree Over Potential Effects of Colorado 'Personhood' Amendment

Supporters, Opponents of Abortion Rights Disagree Over Potential Effects of Colorado 'Personhood' Amendment

October 17, 2014 — Opponents of a proposed "personhood" amendment (Amendment 67) in Colorado say the ballot measure could further restrict abortion rights, contrary to the claims of many supporters of the measure, Colorado Public Radio reports (Verlee, Colorado Public Radio, 10/15).

The ballot initiative will ask Colorado voters whether the state's constitution should be amended so that "the words 'person' and 'child' in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act must include unborn human beings" (Amendment 67 text, 3/13/13).

Supporters, Opponents Disagree About Potential Impact

Coloradans have rejected a personhood measure twice before, in 2008 and 2010. However, some supporters of the amendment contend that this year's would not affect abortion or other medical services, according to Colorado Public Radio.

Opponents of the amendment counter that the measure could be used to classify post-fertilization medical procedures -- including abortions and in vitro fertilization -- as homicide.

Christina Aguilar, director of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, said, "Amendment 67 is written in language that tries to trick us. It would criminalize women and outlaw all abortion."

In addition, opponents point out that Colorado Right to Life appears to agree with their interpretation of the measure. The antiabortion-rights group states on its website that "the Brady Amendment 67 makes abortion a criminal offense."

Further, abortion-rights supporters argue that the ballot measure would set a dangerous legal standard that could undermine a pregnant woman's rights. Advocates for Pregnant Women Director Lynn Paltrow said, "As soon as you empower state actors and others, including physicians and husbands, to act as if the fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus is already outside of the woman's body, they can do almost anything they want to her" (Colorado Public Radio, 10/15).