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16 July 2008

Washington Post on Amendment 48

By Diana Hsieh

The Washington Post has a news article on Colorado's "Definition of a Person" Amendment. The article rightly suggests that some of its advocates are being less-than-up-front about the legal implications of the amendment, even for abortion:

The ballot initiative is funded by Colorado for Equal Rights, a grass-roots antiabortion organization. Its purpose, initiative sponsor Kristi Burton said, is to lay a legal and legislative basis for protecting the unborn. Its passage would also open the door to modifying other laws for the same purpose, she said.

As to what laws could then be modified, Burton would not elaborate. "We try not to focus on some of the issues that will be taken care of later on," she said, repeatedly saying that the amendment is not aimed at outlawing abortion.

But that is the objective, according to one of the measure's biggest supporters, Colorado Right to Life. "The goal is to restore legal protection to preborn babies from the moment they are conceived, which is the only way we're going to stop abortion," said Leslie Hanks, vice president of the group.
A constitutional amendment granting full legal rights to fertilized eggs would have serious legal ramifications -- not just for abortion, but also birth control, in vitro fertilization, and medical research. For its advocates to refuse to discuss those legal effects -- and worse, to pretend as if they won't happen -- is disheartening. By refusing to engage in honest debate about the impact of the amendment on Colorado laws, these cagey supporters ensure that many voters will go to the polls largely ignorant of the implications of their "yes" vote.

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