Colorado Legislators Will Lead Fight Against Abortion-Personhood Amendment

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Legislators Will Lead Fight Against Abortion-Personhood Amendment

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 2
, 2008

Denver, CO ( — A current and a former state legislator will head up the effort for pro-abortion forces against a statewide personhood initiative that would provide legal protection for unborn children, including from abortion. That’s assuming Colorado for Equal Rights can submit 76,000 signatures by May 13 to qualify the measure.

The constitutional amendment endorsing personhood for unborn children could pave the way to prohibiting abortions.

Former Grand Junction state Rep. Gayle Berry will be one of the leaders of the Protect Families Protect Choice campaign that pro-abortion groups are organizing to oppose the measure.

Berry, along with state Sen. Betty Boyd, a Democrat from Lakewood, will be urging Colorado voters to oppose the proposal.

“I’ve always been pro-choice,” she told the Grand Junction Sentinel newspaper. “I think the flaw in the ballot measure is yet again it puts one more thing in the Constitution."

Toni Panetta, spokeswoman for the pro-abortion group, also talked with the newspaper about her opposition to the measure.

“We actually believe reproductive health care issues and health care in general in Colorado are not partisan issues,” she said. “This proposed amendment goes beyond anything related to partisan politics."

While some legislators have signed on with the pro-abortion group, in March State Sen. Greg Brophy Wray signed his name to the petition to get the personhood proposal on the ballot.

"Clearly it’s always the right time to take the stand for the sanctity of life," he said at the time.

Pro-life advocates in Colorado are split on the idea and the Colorado Catholic Conference released a message in February saying it has not endorsed the idea.

Catholic Conference executive director Jennifer Kraska told the Denver Post that Pueblo Bishop Arthur Tafoya, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput are in a tough position.

She indicated they support the principle behind the personhood amendment, which recognizes unborn children as persons under law from conception on, but she said they have concerns over the strategy.

Kraska indicated they are worried that the Supreme Court, which has a pro-abortion majority, would declare the amendment unconstitutional and it would further entrench the Roe v. Wade decision allowing virtually unlimited abortions.

"We commend the goal of this effort to end abortion. Individual Catholics may choose to work for its passage," Kraska said. "At the same time, we recognize that other people committed to the sanctity of life have raised serious questions about this specific amendment’s timing and content."

Colorado for Equal Rights organizer Keith Mason told at the time that "over 274 churches have signed on in support of personhood, over 856 petition gatherers across Colorado are working hard to make a difference."

The personhood amendment states "(t)he term ‘Person’ or ‘Persons’ shall include any human from the time of fertilization."