By Diana Hsieh
After a hiatus in 2012, I'm sorry to report that "Personhood for Zygotes" is on the ballot again in Colorado in 2014. However, I'm pleased to announce that Ari Armstrong and I will update 2010 policy paper in defense of abortion rights in light of the very much changed political landscape. Once again, we need your support to make that happen!
Colorado's New "Personhood for Zygotes" Amendment
Despite the defeats of "personhood" measures in 2008 and 2010, the crusaders against abortion rights have returned with yet another attempt to grant the full legal rights of personhood to fertilized eggs.
The ballot question reads:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution protecting 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? (Full Text)
If successful, this measure would outlaw therapeutic and elective abortions, common fertility treatments, and popular forms of birth control. It would subject women and their doctors to intrusive police controls and unjust criminal prosecutions. It would force Coloradoans to abide by the deeply religious and sectarian view that the fertilized egg is imbued with rights from God.
Due to its misleading wording -- particularly its talk of "protecting pregnant women" -- 2014's Amendment 67 will likely fare significantly better in the polls than the "personhood" amendments proposed in 2008 and 2010. It's unlikely to pass, but that doesn't mean that abortion rights are secure. The dangerous ideology of "personhood" has spread like wildfire in the past four years among religious conservatives. In the 2012 presidential election, every Republican candidate except Mitt Romney endorsed "personhood for zygotes."
The ideology of "personhood for zygotes" must be steadfastly opposed -- based on a firm understanding of rights in pregnancy -- not merely because "it goes too far."
Support a 2014 Paper in Defense of Abortion Rights
To combat the dangerous ideology of "personhood" and defend abortion rights on principle, Ari Armstrong and I will publish a new version of their policy paper on the "personhood" movement. The updates to the paper will focus on the new language in 2014's Amendment 67, the widespread embrace of "personhood" by the Republican Party in the 2012 election, the synergy between "incremental" and "personhood" approaches to abortion bans, the defeat of a "personhood" amendment in Mississippi, and more.
However, that work depends on your support! The update to the paper will only go forward if at least $1500 is pledged by August 20th. That will help pay for the many hours of work this update will require. If sufficient funds are pledged, the 2014 paper will be published by September 17th.
So, if you want to help defend abortion rights in this 2014 election, please pledge! Any amount is welcome, and your pledge is not due until the paper is published.
Note: Due to efforts of the Center for Competitive Politics on CSG's behalf, Diana hopes that she will not have to report on funds collected for this project, as she's been obliged to do in prior elections. Time -- or rather the judge -- will tell. In any case, pledges for this paper are helping us have a viable case with which to challenge Colorado's onerous campaign finance laws.
If you have any questions about the project or pledging, please email me.