Personhood Amendment petition drive launches with event at Planned Parenthood

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Kristi Burton Brown.
At 2 p.m. today, the Colorado Personhood Coalition will hold a press conference at a very pointed location -- a local Planned Parenthood office -- to tout the beginning of a petition drive for the latest version of a Personhood resolution. And campaign reps including Kristi Burton Brown, the face of the 2008 effort, are confident that the measure will find its way to the November ballot. But victory at the polls may be a bigger challenge.

The coalition stresses that this year's amendment isn't a clone of ones that lost by wide margins in 2008 and 2010. The language of the proposal, on view below, still defines a human being as a child at any stage of development (meaning, presumably, the moment of conception). However, it states that only methods of birth control, in vitro fertilization and assisted reproduction that "kill a person" are covered by the text. Moreover, neither spontaneous miscarriages nor medical treatments used to preserve life in life-threatening situations will be outlawed by the initiative.

It remains to be seen whether these tweaks will boost the measure, but Brown maintains that "every year personhood amendments are tried, the support rises, whether you're talking about Colorado, where the numbers and percentages both increased, and in Mississippi, where it was even closer than in Colorado. And I think the more people talk about how every unborn child is a human being scientifically speaking and morally speaking, and how we need to protect every human being, the more people look into their hearts."

Denver's petition-drive press conference follows an event in Glenwood Springs yesterday, as well as one in Colorado Springs scheduled for 10 a.m. today. However, Susan Sutherland, the initiative coordinator for the 2012 petition drive, notes that "technically, it launched a little earlier in the week. We have mailed out about 3,500 petitions; they hit the post offices on Monday. And in addition, we have several thousand more petitions out to our base of volunteers locally and statewide. And that builds every day as the word gets out and we receive information about additional people who want to get involved."

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An image from the Personhood USA website.
At this point, Sutherland says the coalition has no plans to employ paid signature gatherers, even though petitioning was delayed over a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood that failed earlier this month. "They knew what that would do: delay the process," she maintains. "And it did set us back a few weeks. But we were very pleased by the unanimous decision the Colorado Supreme Court came back with. It kind of bolstered our resolve. We were like, 'We can do this.' And we have no problems. We have great numbers of people out there willing to help. And that's what we're counting on."

Sutherland says the coalition has set a self-imposed deadline of July 8 to gather the 86,105 valid signatures to earn inclusion on the ballot. When she's asked if she has any concerns about meeting that standard given the experience of the folks behind Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which had almost 80,000 signatures disallowed on their first attempt at qualification, she replies, "None. Zero. We all know that with signature gathering, you have to account for a percentage that is going to be thrown out. But I would say the greater percentage of people who sign our petitions are registered voters, and we make sure up front that every single person petitioning knows what they're doing."

As for the troubles experienced by the Amendment 64 forces, she jokes that they may be rooted in the substance they're trying to legitimize.

Adds Sutherland, "I think we've got an excited group working with us once again, and we're are going to be hard at it -- and right in the face of Planned Parenthood. After we were defeated in 2008, they probably thought we were going to go away, but we're not going away. This issue to us as personhood people, as people who value life, is something we're committed to, because our goal is to protect every single life, and every single baby. The pre-born deserve to be protected by love and by law, and we will not be deterred until they are."

Brown echoes this philosophy. "Win or not," she says, "we're promoting the message that every human being is valuable and deserves protection."

The press conference gets underway at 2 p.m. at Denver Stapleton Planned Parenthood, 7155 E 38th Avenue. Here's the text of the latest personhood amendment.

Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:

Section 32. The right to life.

(1) Purpose. IN ORDER TO AFFIRM BASIC HUMAN DIGNITY, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE RIGHT TO LIFE IN THIS CONSTITUTION APPLIES EQUALLY TO ALL INNOCENT PERSONS.

(2) Effect. THE INTENTIONAL KILLING OF ANY INNOCENT PERSON IS PROHIBITED.

(a) ONLY BIRTH CONTROL THAT KILLS A PERSON SHALL BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(b) ONLY IN VITRO FERTILIZATION AND ASSISTED REPRODUCTION THAT KILLS A PERSON SHALL BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(c) MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR LIFE THREATENING PHYSICAL CONDITIONS INTENDED TO PRESERVE LIFE SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(d) SPONTANEOUS MISCARRIAGES SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(e) NO INNOCENT CHILD CREATED THROUGH RAPE OR INCEST SHALL BE KILLED FOR THE CRIME OF HIS OR HER FATHER.

(3) Definitions. AS USED IN THIS SECTION,

(a) "PERSON" APPLIES TO EVERY HUMAN BEING REGARDLESS OF THE METHOD OF CREATION.

(b) A "HUMAN BEING" IS A MEMBER OF THE SPECIES HOMO SAPIENS AT ANY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT.

(c) "SPONTANEOUS MISCARRIAGE" IS THE UNINTENTIONAL TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY.

(d) "CHILD" INCLUDES A HUMAN BEING PRIOR TO AND DURING BIRTH.

(e)"MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR LIFE THREATENING PHYSICAL CONDITIONS INTENDED TO PRESERVE LIFE" INCLUDES BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO TREATMENT FOR CANCER, ECTOPIC AND MOLAR PREGNANCY, TWIN-TO-TWIN TRANSFUSION SYNDROME, AND PLACENTA PREVIA.

(4) Self-executing, and severability provision. ALL PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION ARE SELF-EXECUTING AND ARE SEVERABLE.

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More from our Politics archive: "Personhood Amendment reboot Q&A with Kristi Burton Brown, face of original 2008 campaign."

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13 comments
yodownmuthalicka
yodownmuthalicka

Funny to see "small government" simpletons like Ms. Brown rail for the massive bureaucracy called the Federal Abortion Police. Let's vote the crazy right wingers out of government for once and all.

Tillie
Tillie

 If women shouldn't be able to determine their own reproductive health issues than not one single tax dollar should go towards making bombs. Don't be a hypocrite Kristi Burton Brown, if you want fertilized cells to be protected from being murdered then work to protect the lives of Afghani citizens too.

Eric
Eric

This has been a winner for the GOP for a while.

Believe me, nobody, no matter how far right on the lunatic fringe they may be, believes any eggmendment of any kind, in any State will garner enough votes to pass.

But for a very few, these "personhood amendments" are a cash windfall. And for the party as a whole, both at the State and Federal level, these amendments are get out the vote tools that are rivalled only by equally screwy and fringe friendly gays, God and guns legislative turds in the punch bowl.

The big three, gays, guns, and God, played well for the republicans for years, But as time's gone on, the republican party has seized on women's' health issues, or more to the point, the effort to control women's decisions about their bodies and' access to health coverage,

It's a twofold strategy.

One of the really influential lobbies that the repubs pander to, the health insurance industry, sees blocking  women's' access to medical coverage as a monetary winner.  Hence, the new war on women by the GOP.

This also is an underpinning strategy to overturn the Health legislation. The other sees any type of legislative effort concerning cutting off women's rights as a way to bring out the 1 issue goobers, who will vote republican down the ballot while in the booth.

They know they can't win this. They know it's a waste of taxpayer money putting it up. They know it will go 60-40 at best.

But it's this cycle's wedge issue voter's candy.   .

Huh
Huh

"Innocent person"....innocent of what?

Brown is guilty of ignorance.  Does that make her fair game if this amendment passes?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Come on!  Don't you want to make some babies with Kristi Burton Brown?

Gregg Pearlman
Gregg Pearlman

These people are idiots.  By continuing to push this ridiculous piece of legislature forward, they are proving that they have no regard for the separation of church and state.  This separation is one of the principles that our founding fathers created our great country.  Their definition of personhood is purely a religious one.  The Jewish religion has a completely different definition of when a fetus is a person: "The Talmud states that a fetus is not legally a person until it is delivered.".   The authors of this personhood legislation are not respecting the religious freedom of non-Christians.  Therefore, they are going against one of the very basic fabrics upon which this country was founded.

Dirk
Dirk

I never understood the concept of forcing a woman to carry a baby to term given that there are no safeguards in place to ensure that the fetus will receive proper care.  I mean, take a crack whore for an example.  What chance does that fetus have of being born healthy?

If you are going to force a woman to carry the baby to term, then you should also force her to receive proper prenatal care.  Oh, and make sure she takes her vitamins too! 

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Religion = Superstitious Nonsense for Ignorant Imbeciles.

Period.

Stan
Stan

Good question, "Huh."  Also, the supporters' arguments are totally fucked.  Most conservative "Christians" who support this amendment believe that we are all born with original sin.  By that logic, ALL fetuses would be fair game.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting post, Gregg. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

///\  What he said.  Plus, child care only begins at childbirth.  If you are going to force somebody to bring an unwanted child into the world, then you better create a welcome place in the world for that child once they get there.  All this "right to life" BS is cruel and inhumane.  I know I would much rather not be born, than grow up in a horrible, dysfunctional household where I am beaten and starved by parents who despise my very existence.

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