Colorado Personhood Amendment on Abortion Loses by Wide Margin Again

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2010   |   11:59AM   |   Denver, CO

In a banner election year for pro-life advocates, sponsors of the Colorado personhood amendment that would prohibit abortions expected the measure would fare better, but that wasn’t the case.

With 88 percent of the Colorado precincts reporting voters rejected the personhood amendment again lost by a lopsided margin, 70-30 percent.

Amendment 62 failed to gain a majority in any Colorado county. That included rural parts of the state, some of the largely pro-life Hispanic areas, and El Paso county — the conservative home county of Focus on the Family, which endorsed but did not actively campaign for the measure.

Colorado voters defeated Amendment 48 in 2008 by a 73-27 percentage margin with 1,605,978 voters rejecting it compared to 585,561 who were supportive.

This time, the personhood amendment received the support of 473,082 voters — more than 100,000 fewer than in 2008.

With potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of man hours spent by pro-life advocates supporting the measure, some backers of the personhood amendment may reconsider supporting the measure a third time in favor of working to ensure pro-abortion President Barack Obama doesn’t win Colorado in his 2012 bid for re-election.

But, Personhood Colorado spokeswoman Jennifer Mason told the Denver Post: “We’re excited to try again next election.”

Abortion advocates again used the defeat of the measure to tout a repudiation of the pro-life movement.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Monica McCafferty told The Colorado Independent, “Tonight’s victory sends a strong message that Colorado is a pro-choice state.”

Yet, pro-life advocates in Colorado were not fully on board with the amendment.

As was the case last time, some pro-life groups oppose the amendment because they say it will head to the Supreme Court, which will strike it down and add to the pro-Roe v. Wade case law upholding unlimited abortions. The Catholic Church has not endorsed the measure and some say Colorado taxpayers could be stuck with the legal bills for Planned Parenthood if the abortion business wins a legal challenge against it.

Instead, they say a better strategy is supporting pro-life Senate candidate Ken Buck and replacing pro-abortion President Barack Obama — paving the way for new Supreme Court justices who could overturn Roe.

Some pro-life advocates say the personhood amendment also contributed to the potential defeat of pro-life Senate candidate Ken Buck and the election of pro-abortion Sen. Michael Bennet.

Buck endorsed the amendment, but was pummeled by millions of dollars in television commercials making the false claim that he opposed birth control and contraception because of his stance on it. The Republican eventually had to withdraw his support for the amendment so his position would not be misconstrued.

After he withdrew his support, personhood amendment supporters ravaged Buck and criticized him as supposedly casting aside his heartfelt pro-life views.

The 2010 version of the amendment was different but 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 Amendment 62, did not enjoy the support of many pro-life groups such as National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, Colorado Citizens for Life or the state’s Catholic bishops.

The amendment read: “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.”