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06 August 2010

Colorado Senate Candidate Ken Buck on Abortion

By Diana Hsieh

Much to my dismay and disgust, Colorado's two Republican candidates for Senate, Jane Norton and Ken Buck, have endorsed Colorado's 2010 "personhood" amendment, a.k.a Amendment 62. That proposed amendment would grant full legal rights to zygotes from the moment of fertilization.

As Ari Armstrong and I explained in our soon-to-be-updated 2008 policy paper -- Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person -- this "personhood for zygotes" amendment would have dire legal consequences if passed and enforced. It 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. In short, the measure poses a grave threat to the life, liberty, health, and happiness of the women and men of Colorado.

Many Republicans in Colorado seem to be evading the plain meaning of the amendment. As Ari Armstrong explains, they claim to support it, while denying that it's anything more than a symbolic gesture. So where do the Ken Buck and Jane Norton stand?

Ari Armstrong has discussed Jane Norton's anti-abortion views here. She's in favor of Amendment 62, because she believes that "life begins at conception." Of course, when "life" begins is not relevant: my pancreas is alive -- and human. The question is when rights begin -- and that happens at birth. Moreover, Norton would allow abortions in cases of rape and incest, even though such abortions would violate the supposed rights of the zygote or fetus just as much as any other abortion.

Even more than Norton, Ken Buck seems to endorse "personhood for zygotes" wholeheartedly. Via the Colorado Independent, we find Buck's basic statement of his views:

QUESTION: How do you feel about abortion? Are you for abortion, against abortion, are you for it? In what instances would you allow for abortion?

BUCK: I am pro-life, and I'll answer the next question. I don't believe in the exceptions of rape or incest. I believe that the only exception, I guess, is life of the mother. And that is only if it's truly life of the mother.

To me, you can't say you're pro-life and say -- if there is, and it's a very rare situation where one life would have to cease for the other life to exist. But in that very rare situation, we may have to take the life of the child to save the life of the mother.

In that rare situation, I am in favor of that exception. But other than that I have no exceptions in my position.
So if the life of a pregnant woman is merely in peril, as opposed to facing certain death, then Ken Buck would deny her an abortion, until perhaps too late. Or if the pregnant woman's health would be permanently ruined, such that she'd be disabled for life, Ken Buck would deny her an abortion.

Ken Buck seeks to force women to sacrifice their lives, their health, their dreams, their values to a tiny clump of cells without any human qualities except DNA.

That's not "pro-life" ... it's frightfully anti-life. And if it's not opposed on moral grounds, people like Ken Buck will eventually have their way.

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