Colorado Personhood Amendment, Amendment 62 (2012)

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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.[1]


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."[2]


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."[2]


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.[4]

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."[5]

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.”[6]

Signature submission

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.[7]

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.[8]

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:

See also

External links