Colorado Personhood Backers Need 15K Signatures or Abortion Amendment Fails

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 4, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Personhood Backers Need 15K Signatures or Abortion Amendment Fails

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 4
, 2010

Denver, CO ( — The Colorado Secretary of State has evaluated the signatures backers of the personhood amendment submitted to get the proposal on the 2010 ballot. The amendment defines unborn children as persons starting at conception, but it may never go before state voters.

That’s because Personhood Colorado leaders submitted only 79,817 petition signatures last month.

The total was just 3,770 signatures more than the 76,047 required, which is five percent above the limit. Because not all signatures come from valid Colorado voters and some may be duplicates, the total wasn’t enough.

The Colorado Secretary of State has disclosed that 15,690 of the 79,648 signatures submitted by the group were invalid and, starting today, it has 15 days to submit more than that amount to get the amendment on the ballot.

"This is not unexpected news," Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA, told today. "We anticipated that this 15 day curing period would be evoked, and we have been diligently preparing to get over 1,000 signatures each day of the 15 day period. It will be a challenge, but we are ready to get started."

"On March 18, we fully expect to have 15,690 valid signatures to submit to the Secretary of State’s office, ensuring that the Personhood Amendment is on the 2010 ballot," he said. "Once the amendment is on the ballot, we will see that every person is protected by love and by law."

However, at the rate of more 1,000 signatures a day — and with more needed to overcome invalid signatures in this second batch — getting to the goal appears to be a tall order.

Should state officials qualify the amendment, Colorado voters would consider the amendment for the second time after first voting against it by a 73-27 percent margin in 2008.

The differences between the 2010 and 2008 versions of the amendment are minor, with language changed to say a person is a human being "from the beginning of the biological development of that human being" in lieu of "from the moment of fertilization."

Led by Dianne Irving, a faculty member at Georgetown University known for her expertise in bioethics issues, the change was made to include all unborn children, including test tube babies.

The 2008 version of the amendment, and this one, especially after the nearly 3-1 defeat at the polls in 2010, does not enjoy the support of many pro-life groups such as Focus on the Family or the state’s Catholic bishops. They say the effort will certainly be overturned by the courts and that a better way to stop abortions is to change the courts so Roe can be overturned and abortions can be prohibited.

Colorado pro-life advocates also suggest the money raised for the effort would be better spent on supporting pregnancy centers that can help women now to choose life instead of abortion.

They are also concerned about a new email the group released saying it is out of money and worry the amendment would only go down in defeat again because there is not enough money to support it.

The amendment reads: "Section 32. Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term "person" shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."

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