Personhood Again? Sorta…September 28, 2014
Yes, another personhood amendment on the ballot for Colorado in 2014. But is it really just another one? No, this attempt is actually different than the past attempts to change the definition of a person in all areas of the law to include unborn human beings. Although this initiative is carried by the same anti-choice group, Personhood Colorado, with the same intent, they may have learned a few lessons from their past failures. This year, by exploiting one woman’s tragedy of losing her fetus in a hit and run accident, Personhood Colorado has chosen to focus strictly on the criminal code. While the language on this ballot initiative is different and appears to be more focused, the effects of this initiative are still over-reaching.
The word person is currently defined as: An entity, which can include a corporation, a city or a state, recognized by the law as separate and independent, with legal rights and existence including the ability to sue and be sued, to sign contracts, to receive gifts, to appear in court either by themselves or by lawyer and, generally, other powers incidental to the full expression of the entity in law. A change in the criminal code would not only affect the criminal code. It would affect every aspect of the law. After all, the law separates those that abide the law and those that don’t.
Can you imagine a fetus suing or trying to sign a contract? Or how about wanting to purchase property, or even trying to make a donation to a candidate? I am picturing a fetus controlling the woman like a mindless robot (remember stepford wives?), because that is essentially what will happen. The woman will no longer exist as an individual person. Every single decision that she makes while pregnant will be held under the scrutiny of the law. In the case of hit and run, what happens if a pregnant woman is crossing the street in the middle of a block where there is not an established cross walk and gets hit by a car? Will she be charged with murder, or child abuse resulting in the death of the child, how about neglect? I don’t know. We don’t know how far this could go.
Lets be honest here, once any of us are pregnant or have a close friend or relative that is pregnant, we can’t help but personify the fetus that is inside her. We also tend to personify stuffed animals and pictures and movie characters. But this does not mean that the woman must be stripped of her human and legal rights once she becomes pregnant. This is the moment that a woman should be even more empowered to protect herself and her body, which includes seeking medical care, choosing to take her prenatal vitamins, or even going for a jog when she is 35 weeks pregnant. A woman should be able, without any government interference to evaluate her own life and if she really can or wants to raise a child, or even see a pregnancy through to term. Some women simply do not want to have children and that is OK. And, no, adoption is not the answer so please do not even try to argue that.
While I applaud the tireless efforts of Personhood Colorado, the energy they have and are expensing from everyone else is being expended in the wrong areas. All of the time and money spent to defeat this bogus, ridiculous, and extremely dangerous ballot initiative could be spent on proactive measures to help reduce violence against women, or reduce homelessness, or saving the ocean. Heck, It can be used to help support the arts culture in Colorado and provide more people with access to healthcare. The money that is going to fight this battle could be spent on educating people about safer sex practices, how to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies, or the risk of transmitting illnesses.
Bottom line, Amendment 67 is just another attempt, albeit a smarter attempt, at banning certain reproductive health services for women. Do what you will, but I guarantee, I will be voting NO on 67.