Voters to decide on personhood definition
Colorado voters will decide next year whether or not the definition of a person includes the unborn. Pro-life activists gathered enough signatures to put the question on the November 2014 ballot.
The 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?"
It's the third attempt at a measure of this kind. But supporters said this time, it's different.
"This one changes the definition in the Colorado Wrongful Death Act and the Colorado Criminal Code," Personhood USA Communications Director Jennifer Mason said. "Before it was just a general amendment to the constitution."
Mason said the goal is justice for pregnant women and their unborn children.
"This is addressing specifically the problem in the Colorado law that allows for criminals to commit violent crimes against pregnant women to get off the hook with no penalties," she said.
A Colorado Springs lawyer said he understands the problem, but this amendment isn't the solution.
"It will be the source of constant litigation the way it's worded," Mike McDivitt of McDivitt Law Firm said. "It's not limited to violent crimes or violent acts. No requirement for intent."
He said lawyers would need to prove a fetus died because of an accident or assault, and figuring out damages would be difficult.
Opponents of the amendment said there will be other consequences.
"We could ultimately end up with a situation where a woman's rights are pitted against the rights of her pregnancy," said Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado. "And that could lead to a restriction on access to abortion care; it could lead to restrictions on access to commonly used forms of birth control."
Personhood USA is hopeful voters will approve the measure. Voters will get the last say November 4, 2014.
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