Personhood

Back for a third try, the Personhood Colorado campaign seeks to outlaw abortion by granting legal rights to embryos from the moment of conception.

The amendment to the state constitution would define a human being as “a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development.”

Voters rejected similar – though differently worded – amendments in 2008 and 2010.

This year, supporters say they will focus their campaign on the rights of fetal crime victims. The Legislature defeated a bill in 2012 to allow prosecutors to charge defendants with murder of unborn children. A victim of the Aurora theater massacre had a miscarriage, but prosecutors cannot file an additional murder count against the defendant on that child’s behalf.

Supporters turned in 112,000 signatures to the secretary of state Aug. 6, about 8,000 fewer than their goal. Campaigns need 85,000 valid signatures of Colorado voters, but they usually aim to exceed the goal by a third because so many signatures are invalidated. The secretary of state’s office has until Sept. 5 to complete its review.

Arguments for: Ending the life of an unborn child, through abortion or other means, is morally wrong, supporters say. The amendment includes language to protect women who have accidental miscarriages.

Arguments against: The Personhood movement seeks to use government to violate women’s rights and family privacy. The amendment would criminalize common birth control pills and fertility treatments for couples.

Campaign money: The Colorado Personhood Coalition has raised about $23,000. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has raised $97,000 to fight the initiative.

Websites: Pro: personhoodco.com. Anti: www.nopersonhood.org.

jhanel@durangoherald.com