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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Colorado Amendment 48

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The Coalition for Secular Government has published a paper on Colorado Amendment 48

The Summary of the measure states:

Amendment 48 proposes a change to the state constitution that defines the term person to include any human being from the moment of fertilization. This definition is applied to the sections of the Colorado Constitution that protect the natural and essential rights of persons, allow open access to courts for every person, and ensure that no person has his or her life, liberty, or property taken away without the due process of law.

This is an absurd measure pushed by the religious right without thought of the ultimate consequences. As the Coalition for Secular Government puts it:

Amendment 48 seeks to define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights in Colorado’s constitution. If fully implemented, it would profoundly and adversely impact the lives of sexually-active couples, couples seeking children, pregnant women, doctors, and medical researchers, subjecting them to severe legal restrictions, police controls, protracted court battles, and criminal punishments.

Amendment 48 would outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, terminally deformed fetuses, and danger to the woman’s health. The measure might or might not allow abortions in cases of extreme risk to the woman’s life; either way, it would endanger the lives and health of many women. In conjunction with existing statutes, Amendment 48 would subject women and their doctors to first-degree murder charges for willfully terminating a pregnancy, with the required punishment of life in prison or the death penalty.

The impact of Amendment 48 would extend far beyond abortion into the personal corners of every couple’s reproductive life. It would outlaw many forms of birth control, likely including the pill. It would require criminal investigation of any miscarriages deemed suspicious. The measure also would ban potentially life-saving stem-cell research and many popular fertility treatments.

Amendment 48 rests on the absurdity that a fertilized egg is a full human person with an absolute right to biological life-support from a woman—regardless of her choices and whatever the cost to her. The biological facts support a different view, namely that personhood and rights begin at birth. Colorado law should reflect those objective biological facts, not the Bible verses so often quoted by advocates of Amendment 48.

I agree completely with them. This amendment, while not specifically outlawing things such as birth control, opens the door to some pretty scary possibilities for the religious right to push through state legislation that could dramatically impact the lives of women. I think it's vitally important to fight this anti-choice agenda.

Also, since more than 25% of conceptions end in spontaneous abortion (also called miscarriages), shouldn't the religious right consider their god a horrible murderer? The lack of logic in their positions just astounds me. Not only that, but I suspect that most of the backers of Amendment 48 are also pro death penalty, and all for cutting social programs that benefit children. They care about you until you're born, but after that you're on your own.