‘Personhood’ amendment defeated in a landslide
November 5, 2008
Denver — Colorado won’t become the first state to amend its constitution to give fertilized eggs the same rights as human beings, as voters soundly rejected Amendment 48.
The so-called Personhood Amendment was failing by a 3-to-1 ratio, and co-author Kristi Burton laid a lot of the blame for its demise at the feet of high-profile officials with strong anti-abortion credentials that refused to endorse it.
Burton pointed out that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer and Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams hurt the amendment’s chances when they “campaigned against this issue” publicly.
“That proved to be insurmountable,” she said.
But Wadhams and Schaffer didn’t actually campaign against it – they simply refused to endorse it, with Wadhams calling the measure the wrong avenue for the abortion fight.
The measure would have granted constitutional rights to a fertilized egg – including due process and inalienable rights.
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The amendment fractured much of the anti-abortion establishment – with Burton unable to round up such notable abortion opponents as Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput and National Right to Life.
But the political arm of Focus on the Family did support it, and Burton was aided by several other anti-abortion groups and some Colorado candidates willing to endorse the measure – including Scott Helman, who was running for a state Senate seat in Weld County
Fofi Mendez, the No on 48 campaign manager, said the splintering of the anti-abortion groups proved the point they made their campaign slogan – that the amendment “went too far.”
“We knew when Coloradans understood the far-reaching consequences of the amendment, they’d vote no,” Mendez said.
“The credit goes to our 5,300 individuals who volunteered, donated and fought against this.”