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Abortion access in the U.S.

2008: Proposed Colorado constitutional
amendment #48 to outlaw abortion. Part 2.

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This is a continuation of the topic from Part 1.

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Public opinion poll, and reactions:

During 2008-OCT, a public opinion poll was conducted by the Rocky Mountain News and CBS4. It showed that 27% of Colorado adults were in favor of the "Personhood Amendment." 68% were opposed, and 5% undecided or with no response. This was very close to the final vote on Election Day in early 2008-NOV.

Pollster Lori Weigel said:

"Once a ballot measure falls under 50 percent support, it is very difficult to turn around that dynamic. For this ballot measure, this is not a hole to dig yourself out of, it's a chasm." 1

The article in the Rocky Mountain News triggered a number of postings from local readers: 1

  • Gloria Poole a RN and artist, wrote:
    "Of course, the human fetus is a human. The poll only shows that 61% of Coloradoans are ignorant of scientific knowledge of the child in the womb. Is that statistic something to brag about? A population 61% ignorant of science?"

    "Human Anatomy and Physiology is a science and IF it were taught in the Colorado public schools, then most people would know what doctors and RNs know i.e. that humans in the womb, are human from human parents. In fact, that is the ONLY way humans are reproduced--from human sperm from a man and human eggs from a woman."

    "Ignorant and/or wicked people have made the rules too long, and it is time for a turn-around in Colorado. I believe that If Colorado fails to vote prolife by voting for Amendment 48 to protect innocents humans in the womb, that the wrath of GOD will come down on this state like a hammer cracking a walnut! And the reason I believe that is the Holy Scriptures. GOD does not ever condone child sacrifice and that is what abortion is. The Old Testament is full of examples where GOD totally destroyed nations for allowing/condoning child sacrifice. It is written, 'be not decieved. GOD is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth,that shall he also reap." {Galatians 6:7] A nation or state that sows destruction and killing will reap that also. There are dozens of baby-killing centers in Colorado especially in Denver and Englewood areas and they are abomination to GOD. GOD is real and HE is not mocked."

    "Some try to explain away that evil by saying JESUS did not address the issue, but HE did. HE said, 'even so it is not the will of your FATHER which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."{Matthew 18:14}"

    Author's note: The "little one" referred to by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew was an actual young child who was sitting in the midst of his disciples, not a pre-embryo, embryo or fetus.
  • Dirk Digler, apparently a private citizen, wrote:
    "[The] Bible was written by men who thought the world was flat. You can choose to live your life by its word but don't try and force everyone to believe the same unknowable things that you believe. Why not use common sense solutions to dramatically reduce the number of abortions? No reason that we should have as many unwanted pregnancies as we do. Lowest rates of abortion are in countries that actually educate their kids and have birth control available. Hard for me to respect someones opinion about abortion when they don't support common sense solutions. Handy wedge issue."
  • Michael F. Crowe, a father of six, wrote:
    "As a husband and father of six children and two wives, I have always held to the idea that what happens between any person (male or female) and their 'medical care provider' is a privately held confidential interaction, and any form of goverenmental interference, social group activities, personal interference, and most decidely, any religious interefernce, cannot be tolerated.

    So, what of the fetus? That question, in this context, lies with the Doctor and the Mother."
  • "DuckPhup" wrote:

    "... Whether you know it or not, these 'life begins at conception' beliefs come from the medieval idea that the sperm contains an actual and complete (but inanimate) human being, in miniature... a 'homunculus'. The act of 'conception' was a MIRACLE... a divine act in which the homunculus was made animate by god imparting a 'soul'... the animating force. At that same instant, the 'soul' was blackened by the taint... the curse... of 'original sin', which is passed down to the next generation in the sperm. Of course, after birth, this is easily rectified by a magical 'soul douching' ceremony (baptism)... ."

  • "Cassidy22" wrote:

    "Those who oppose this bill do NOT necessarily disagree with the fact that conception is when human development begins. What we OBJECT TO is the radical and extreme repurcussions OF this law (that does not belong in the constitution). This amendment would not only make 100% of all abortions illegal, including those for rape, incest and cases where the mother's life is endangered, it would also make many forms of birth control illegal. THIS is why people oppose it. "Personhood" has never been defined before. Doing it blindly can have extreme ramifications. Those of us that oppose this measure don't want to face those ramifications, because they go beyond the scope of the intention."

    "Pro-lifers, if you have any guts, try to pass a bill that explicitly states what you are trying to do - ban abortions. Don't use some back door political BS like this to push your agenda - and force me to lose my reproductive rights to planning a pregnancy, and protecting myself from medical emergencies, such as ectopic pregnancies."

    "I will NOT support making the pill (ring, patch, IUD, etc) illegal. I will NOT support making abortions for rape and incest victims illegal. I will NOT force my doctor to consult a lawyer prior to any medical procedure I need ever for the rest of my life. I will NOT make women who miscarry subject to criminal investigations."

    "And I will never support this bill. (besides, banning abortions doesn't stop them - it just puts them back into back alleys with coat hangers, making them dangerous. Just like prohibition didn't stop people from drinking, it just put them at risk of drinking dangerous moon shine with contents unknown) Making things illegal doens't always stop them from happening.

  • "Fiesty" wrote:

    "... I believe a fetus is a person, but an embryo is not. While I personally support pro-life, legislatively I support pro-choice. The reasons are:

    1. The fact is that there is no consensus, scientific or otherwise, at what point an embryo or fetus is "alive". Most would agree that later in the pregancy, when a fetus is capable of living outside the womb, that the fetus is alive. But what about when it's just a mass of reproducing cells? Is that life or just the *potential* for life?

    2. I recognize that I have no right to legislatively impose my personal (or religious, as the case may be) beliefs on another person person who doesn't share them.

    3. Superceding the rights of a person to their own body, in favor of 'saving the life' of another, is a slippery slope. Should we force mandatory, involuntary blood donations on the same basis? What about organ donation? At what point does it stop?

    4. For the religiously inclined, even Christ acknowledged that sometimes it is permissable to do that which he disagreed with; in other words, not everything is black and white. Remember when his disciples asked him about Moses and divorce? While Christ made it clear he did not approve of or support divorce, he did make allowances and say it was acceptable, citing the example of a "hardened heart" from marital sexual immorality/infidelty."

  • "RegLib" wrote:

    "LetsThink: I disagree with the Bible, which clearly says that life begins when the first breath is taken (one can argue that the Bible really means something different by the "breath of life," but that is arguing that the Bible is not literal). To think that a fetus somehow magically becomes human by passing through the birth canal is ridiculous."

    "But just as ridiculous is the notion that two conjoined cells is a human being. Maybe they are, but the Bible is completely silent on that."

    "Therein lies the challenge: Where during that astounding nine months does a collection of cells become a human being?"

    "Until someone can provide a scientific answer to that question, no law is workable. And until that time, those of us who are troubled by abortion can only work to minimize unwanted pregnancies 'before' a woman becomes pregnant, and maximize a woman's options to abortion when an unwanted pregnancy does happen."

    "That means rational sex education, programs to aid pregnant women, and greatly expanded adoption programs. It also means an economy in which an unexpected pregnancy is not financially devastating."

    "All the things Democrats support and Republicans oppose."

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Possible consequences if the referendum had been approved:

If passed the referendum would have undoubtedly be challenged immediately in court. The would result wold be undoubtedly be appealed by the losing side, and ccould eventually be accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Newscasters are fond of stating that every Justice added to the Supreme Court in the past three decades has been more conservative than the person he or she replaced. It is quite possible that the court could uphold the Personhood Amendment and make it apply across the entire U.S. by ruling that human personhood begins at conception. This would go further than merely overturning Roe v. Wade. It would criminalize abortions everywhere in the U.S. for any reason -- even to save the life of the woman, or in the case of pregnancy caused by rape or incest. It would also criminalize the use of IUDs, but not the use of hormonal birth control pills or emergency contraception. It would change women's choices. No longer could they obtain an abortion in a U.S. clinic or hospital. They would have to fly to a nearby country at an additional expense and risk. Or there would always be back alley abortions available.

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Outcome of the referendum:

Promoters collected 103,000 signatures; only 76,000 were required. The "Colorado Definition of Person Amendment," a.k.a. Amendment 48 appeared on the November 2008 ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment.

It was defeated overwhemingly by almost 4 to 1. There were 585,561 votes (27%) in favor to 1,605,978 (73%) opposed. 2

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Related essays:

bullet Laws restricting abortion in the U.S. and Canada
bullet Anti-abortion bills in various states
bullet Roe v. Wade: Its basis; court philosophies; political aspects
bullet The future battle over women's access to abortion; The impact if Roe v. Wade is overturned

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References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Do Coloradans think an embryo is a person? Polls say 'No'," Rocky Mountain News, 2010-OCT-28, at: http://blogs.rockymountainnews.com/
  2. "Colorado Definition of Person Amendment, Amendment 48," BallotPedia, as at 2010-JUN-03, at: http://www.ballotpedia.org/

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 Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Legal aspects > here

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Copyright © 2007 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2007-NOV-30
Latest update: 2010-JUN-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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