'Personhood' amendment OK'd for November ballot

By Dan Elliott, Associated Press
Friday, May 30, 2008

Colorado moved a step closer to an election battle over abortion rights Thursday, when a proposal defining a fertilized human egg as a person was certified for the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mike Coffman said that supporters of the proposed state constitutional amendment turned in an estimated 103,000 valid signatures, far more than the 76,000 required.

Coffman's ruling sets up a potentially heated campaign over the measure, now designated Amendment 48.

Kristi Burton, the prime mover behind the measure, said that her group, Colorado for Equal Rights, will focus on Colorado voters who personally oppose abortion but don't want to impose their views on others.

Burton said polling shows that those voters make up about 20 percent of the electorate.

"Our job is to put the truth out there for the voters," she said. "Science is on our side."

But Crystal Clinkenbeard, a spokeswoman for the organization Protect Families Protect Choices, which opposes the measure, said, "Defining an egg as a person in our constitution and statutes isn't science-based and makes bad public policy."

"We know (Burton's group) hopes to make Colorado ground zero in their fight," Clinkenbeard said.

Opponents say that Amendment 48 could affect birth control because the most widely used form of contraception works by preventing fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterus.

They also say that the measure could deter in-vitro fertilization and stem cell research and bar doctors from treating women with some forms of cancer.

Rocky Mountain News