Colorado Personhood Amendment, Amendment 62 (2012)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
The Colorado Personhood Amendment did not make the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would have defined the term "person" in the state constitution as the start of biological development. Colorado Right to Life Vice President Leslie Hanks stated in 2011 that his group would move forward with a 2012 initiative to place the measure on the ballot.
The following is information obtained from the supporting side of the measure:
- According to Personhood USA Director Gualberto Garcia: "We believe that abortion is basically the killing of an innocent human being. Whether we do it once, twice or three times, this is a duty for us to keep going and try to protect those babies."
- Gualberto Garcia stated after a Supreme Court lawsuit ruling that allowed the effort to move forward for petition signatures: "This victory at the Supreme Court is further confirmation that it is only a matter of time before the equal rights every human being are recognized under Colorado law. With that in mind, we will be taking the fight directly to Planned Parenthood, putting them on notice that the days of aborting Colorado’s preborn babies are nearly over."
The following is information obtained from the opposing side of the measure:
- Planned Personhood Spokesperson Monica McCafferty stated about the efforts for the measure: "We don't want this agenda that’s very extreme, its anti woman, anti family certainly anti abortion. We want to assure at the end of the day that woman can make personal private decisions about their body for themselves and with their doctor, their family, their faith, and certainly without interference from courts and lawyers."
- See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2012
Durgin v. Lozano
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains filed an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court, requesting to block the measure's supporters from placing it on the ballot. The appeal was filed on January 9, 2012, weeks after the Colorado Title Board approved the language of the measure, and allowing for circulation of initiative petitions.
On March 7, 2012, the state supreme court ruled that the measure could move forward with signature collection. The court ruled in a unanimous decision. Both sides of the measure chimed in, with Planned Parenthood, the group who filed the lawsuit, having spokeswoman Monica McCafferty state the following: "We are disappointed, but not surprised. We are gearing up for a third campaign. So far we've been successful in educating voters on how dangerous this measure is — restricting a woman's ability to make personal, private decisions about her own body."
Attorney Gualberto Garcia Jones, who represented proponents Personhood Colorado: "The unanimous decision by the Colorado Supreme Court proved that there is no question that this is a single-subject issue and ready to go before the voters."
- The ruling in the case can be found here.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Colorado signature requirements
Supporters of the measure had until the August 6, 2012 petition drive deadline to collect the required 85,853 signatures needed to place an initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot in the state.
Title Board review
On December 21, 2011, the Colorado Title Review Board approved the language of the proposed ballot measure, in a unanimous 3 to 0 vote. This allowed the supporters of the measure to proceed with signature collection to place the measure on the ballot. With the unanimous vote, the board rejected a challenge that was brought up by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. The language for the proposal read: “In order to affirm basic human dignity, be it resolved that the right to life in this constitution applies equally to all innocent persons.”
The amendment defined the word “person” in the state constitution as “every human being regardless of the method of creation” and “human being” as “a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development.”
On August 6, 2012, Colorado Personhood Coalition submitted 112,121 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State. The signatures had to have been verified by state officials by September 5, 2012, according to reports.
However, on August 29, 2012, the Colorado Secretary of State's office claimed that not enough signatures were collected for the ballot. Reports say that the measure fell short about 3,900 valid signatures of gaining ballot access.
Similar ballot measures
Past measures in the state
This was the third attempt by groups within the state to pass a constitutional amendment with the intention of defining the term 'person' in the state constitution. The two previous measures were:
- A measure sponsored by the Colorado for Equal Rights was voted on in November 2008 and was defeated by 73%. This measure was the Colorado Definition of Person Initiative, Amendment 48, and had it been enacted it would have defined the term 'person' as any human being from the moment of fertilization.
- In 2010 Colorado Right to Life and Personhood USA sponsored a measure called Colorado Fetal Personhood, Amendment 62. This measure was defeated by 70.53% of the vote and had it been enacted it would have applied the term 'person' to every human being from the beginning of that human being's biological development.
- Colorado 2012 ballot measures
- 2012 ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado
- List of Colorado ballot measures
- Denver Post, "Anti-abortion advocate revved up and ready for round 3 of ‘personhood’ debate," November 11, 2011
- KJCT8.com, ""Personhood" Back in Colorado," November 23, 2011
- Yahoo.com, "Personhood Colorado Coalition to Hold Three Press Conferences Announcing the Launch of Petition Drive," March 13, 2012 (dead link)
- The Denver Channel, "Planned Parenthood Appeals CO Abortion Proposal," January 9, 2012 (dead link)
- Denver Post, "Personhood Colorado Coalition to Hold Three Press Conferences Announcing the Launch of Petition Drive," March 13, 2012
- PR Web, "Colorado Board Sides with Personhood Proponents, Approves Proposed Amendment Language," December 22, 2011
- Ms. Magazine, "Colorado Personhood Signatures Submitted," August 7, 2012
- Boston.com, "Abortion ban backers fail to make Colorado ballot," August 29, 2012