Amendment 62 Personhood challenge shot down in Denver District Court
Proponents of Amendment 62 hit a roadblock yesterday in their drive to get Colorado voters to approve Amendment 62, an updated version of the anti-abortion measure that voters soundly defeated in 2008. A suit brought by amendment sponsors Gualberto Garcia Jones and Leslie Hanks had claimed that the Blue Book provided by the Colorado Legislative Council, intended as a non-partisan guide for voters, unfairly portrayed the measure and was misleading on critical points.
A graphic from the Personhood USA website.
But Denver District Court Judge Robert Hyatt ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction over the book's content, which was approved by a committee of legislators. Besides, he added, it was too late to recall something that had already been mailed out to voters.
Mike Mauer, director of research for the Colorado Legislative Council, wasn't worried about the suit. "We believe we've written a fair and non-partisan resource for voters," he says.
According to Mauer, the process for constructing the Blue Book is transparent, and takes input from both sides. "We start at the beginning of the summer, we put together three drafts, and we send them to anyone who signs-up as an interested party on our website," he says. "Anyone can look at the documents online and send us comments for consideration. The final draft is sent to a legislative committee on September 1, and people can testify in front of the committee at that point as well."
But Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason claims that when her group attended that September 1 committee meeting, their arguments were dismissed out of hand. "The legislative council did not take into account even one of our recommendations," she says. "The council wouldn't even allow us to use the term 'human being,' and that's what the amendment is all about."
At the heart of the suit was a claim by amendment sponsors that the 'Arguments For' section of the Blue Book actually contained an argument against the measure, and that a number of other statements were inherently biased. "The Blue Book was full of misinformation and we feel that Colorado voters should know the truth," Mason says. "We're upset that taxpayers had to pay for this garbage that was mailed out to voters."