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Colo. Voters To Weigh 'Personhood' Amendment for Third Time

September 18, 2014 — Voters in Colorado will consider a "personhood" amendment (Amendment 67) that would change the state's constitution to protect "pregnant women and unborn children by defining 'person' and 'child' in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act to include unborn human beings," Mother Jones reports (Eichelberger, Mother Jones, 9/17).

Colorado voters have rejected personhood amendments twice before (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/24). This year, supporters of the amendment are framing it as a way to prosecute people who harm a fetus during a crime, rather than as an antiabortion-rights initiative, according to Mother Jones. For example, Personhood USA spokesperson Jennifer Mason said the amendment would "correc[t] the loophole in Colorado law and ensur[e] that those criminals can be charged with killing a child in many different scenarios."

However, opponents of the amendment -- including the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, the Colorado Bar Association and NARAL Pro-Choice America -- say it would grant constitutional rights beginning at fertilization and could be used to criminally charge women seeking abortions and abortion providers. In addition, opponents say that the amendment could restrict access to some contraceptives in the state (Mother Jones, 9/17).