Colorado Board Titles Ballot Proposal That Would Define Fetus As Person

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The three-person Colorado Initiative Title Setting Review Board on Wednesday titled a ballot proposal that would define a fetus as a person and extend to it rights and protections under the state constitution, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 7/20). The group Colorado for Equal Rights, which is advocating for the proposal, must collect more than 76,000 signatures to put the measure on the statewide ballot.

According to the Denver Post, the title board, which includes Deputy Secretary of State William Hobbs, worked with Mark Meuser, who represented Kristine Burton of Colorado for Equal Rights. The amendment defines the "term 'person' to include any human being from the moment of fertilization as 'person' is used in those provisions of the Colorado Constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law."

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The board dismissed arguments from attorney Kara Veitch, who represents four women involved with various reproductive rights groups, that the measure is not a single-subject measure, as required by state law. Veitch said the proposal applies to three separate sections of the state constitution. The board said the proposal has a common theme of human rights (Draper, Denver Post, 7/19).

Abortion-rights groups have until next week to appeal the amendment's language. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said in a statement that it opposes defining "an egg as a person." PPRM President Vicki Cowart said, "The proponents of this initiative have been clear. Their intent is to destroy the landmark Roe v. Wade decision." Roe is the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that effectively barred state abortion bans.

Burton said, "Every life needs to be protected," adding that a "fetus is a separate person from the mother" (AP/TheDenverChannel.com, 7/20).

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