Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

22 July 2010

Pledge for an Updated Policy Paper on Colorado's "Personhood" Amendment

By Diana Hsieh

Once again, the religious right is launching a massive assault on reproductive rights in Colorado and other states. Help the Coalition for Secular Government fight back by pledging for an updated policy paper showing that "personhood" for zygotes is destructive to human life!

In 2008, the theocrats of the religious right gathered the requisite signatures to put a "personhood" amendment on Colorado's ballot. Known as Amendment 48, this proposed amendment to the state constitution sought to define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights in the Colorado constitution. Amendment 48 was defeated resoundingly with 73% against and 27% in favor.

Unfortunately, the crusade for "personhood" did not perish with Amendment 48. Instead, the crusaders went national, expanding the activity of Personhood USA to over 30 states. They're back in Colorado for the 2010 election with Amendment 62, a slightly modified version of Amendment 48.

Colorado's Amendment 62 would grant full legal rights to zygotes from the moment of fertilization. It proposes:

An amendment to the Colorado Constitution applying the term 'person' as used in those provisions of the Colorado Constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law, to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.
If passed and enforced, the measure would require abortions to be punished as first-degree murders, except perhaps to save the woman's life. It would ban any form of birth control that might sometimes prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus -- including the birth control pill. And it would ban viable forms in vitro fertilization because the process usually creates more fertilized eggs than can be safely implanted in the womb. The measure poses a grave threat to the life, liberty, health, and happiness of the women and men of Colorado.

In 2008, the Coalition for Secular Government published a policy paper by Ari Armstrong and myself entitled Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person. We devoted countless hours to write, publish, and promote the paper. We're proud of the results of that work: our paper offered the only substantive moral critique of the proposed amendment and a detailed analysis of its effects.

Now Ari Armstrong and I need to update that policy paper for 2010's Amendment 62. We want the new paper to reflect the changes in the language of the amendment, as well as better address the arguments made in favor of "personhood." We'd like to discuss the worse political climate in Colorado, plus the spread of the "personhood" movement to other states. And once again, we'd like to promote the new paper via media releases, op-eds, and letters to the editor.

That work will be substantial: Ari and I expect the project to require two solid weeks of work from each of us. And we have other pressing demands on our time.

So we're asking you to contribute to the update of that policy paper by pledging your money in exchange for our work. We want to raise $2000 in pledges for the new policy paper -- by August 3rd at noon. In return, we promise to deliver the revised paper by August 31st, then promote it until the November election. If we raise less than that $2000 in pledges, we'll still revise the paper, but we'll scale back our efforts accordingly. If we raise more than that $2000 in pledges, we'll collect just $2000, pro-rating each pledge accordingly. Your pledge won't be due until we release the updated paper. That's because you're not pledging for effort but for results. If we don't release the paper for some reason, then you'll owe nothing.

If you want to stop the theocrats in Colorado and other states ... if you want to preserve our rights to abortion, birth control, and in vitro fertilization ... if you want to protect the health and lives of American women -- please pledge using the form below!

In the "Question or Comment" field, we'd love to hear why you're supporting our fight against the "personhood" movement. If you have questions or arguments that you'd like to see addressed in the updated policy paper, please include those too.



Most of all, thank you for your support!

Questions and Answers about Pledging

How much should I pledge?

That's entirely up to you. You should pledge whatever amount our efforts are worth to you, in light of your resources. Any pledge is welcome.

How can I know what positions and arguments policy paper will contain?

I'd recommend that you read the original version of the paper: Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person. We're proud of that work: we stand by all the claims and arguments in it. In addition, you can read CSG's summary of and publications on Amendment 48, as well our recent blog posts on Amendment 62.

Will anyone know that I've pledged?

Your name, e-mail, pledge amount, and comment will not be published or otherwise shared with anyone outside CSG unless required by law.

What if I change my mind after I pledge?

If you wish to increase your pledge, you can always pledge more. Just submit another pledge to be added to your existing pledges. If you make a mistake in your pledge, you can e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com before August 3rd. If you want to back out of your pledge... well, I won't have any legal way of enforcing this contract, but if you welch on your bill, you're a schmuck!

When will I find out whether you've gathered enough pledges for the full revision?

The pledge drive ends at noon on August 3rd. Sometime that day, I'll e-mail everyone who pledged with the results, as well as post an announcement to Politics without God.

How do I pay?

You'll be able to pay via PayPal, or you can send a check or money order. I prefer PayPal, but paper methods are fine too. (I will collect the pledges, then split those funds evenly with Ari Armstrong.)

Will my pledge be tax-deductible?

No. The Coalition for Secular Government is a non-profit corporation in Colorado, but the paperwork required by the federal government for tax-exemption is simply too burdensome.

What if I'm not satisfied with the policy paper?

If the policy paper doesn't offer the value you expected, then we will void your pledge and refund any money paid. All that you have to do is e-mail me explaining why you're dissatisfied.

Why are you doing this?

Ari Armstrong and I have devoted much time and effort to battling the religious right, but we have many demands on our time. We want to make sure that others value the work that we're doing, and we want to be fairly paid for that work.

What do I do if I have some other question?

Please e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com. I'll update these questions to clarify as needed.

Comment Rules

Rule #1: You are welcome to state your own views in these comments, as well as to criticize opposing views and arguments. Vulgar, nasty, and otherwise uncivilized comments will be deleted.

Rule #2: These comments are not a forum for discussion of any and all topics. Please stay roughly on-topic.

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