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No on personhood campaign launches with big rally at Capitol

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A crowd of people opposed to "personhood" laws pack the Capitol steps for a No on 67 rally.

DENVER — Few things fire up Colorado progressives like the issue of personhood, a policy they oppose and a political opportunity like few others.

On Tuesday, with personhood likely to make the November ballot for a third time as Amendment 67, a huge crowd of progressive activists gathered on the west steps of the Capitol to launch the No on 67 campaign.

The appearance of a cardboard cut-out of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner, who supported the last two personhood initiatives in 2008 and 2010 but opposes the same measure this year, shows that Democrats aren’t simply looking to defeat the initiative, which has been crushed twice, but to wield it as a political hammer.

“I personally extended an invitation to Congressman Gardner this morning to attend the rally, given that he no longer supports personhood,” said Amy Runyon-Harms, the executive director of ProgressNow. “He didn’t show up.”

Runyon-Harms, whose group brought the cardboard cutout, also encouraged Gardner to remove himself of a co-sponsor of federal personhood legislation.

“That’s just very contradictory. You can’t have it one way in Washington and another way in Colorado. It just shows that Coloradans can’t trust where he stands on this really important issue.”

By defining a fertilized egg as a person, Amendment 67 would restrict ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest and also ban access to emergency contraception and commonly used forms of birth control — including the Pill and IUDs. It could also impede the use of in-vitro fertilization for infertile couples who are hoping to have a family.

“Amendment 67 is bad medicine for women and for Colorado,” said Dr. Ruben Alvero, one of the speakers at the rally. “It would allow the government and the courts to violate the sanctity of doctor/patient privacy, and allow government access to women’s private medical records.

“As an OB/GYN, I opposed this dangerous proposal when it was put before Colorado voters in 2008 and 2010. I oppose it again this year.”

Colorado voters rejected personhood by three-to-one margins both times it was on the ballot.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall has sought to bolster his advantage with women voters this fall by highlighting Gardner’s stance on personhood in his first two television ads of the campaign.

Gardner has responded by explaining his reversal in an ad of his own, and by coming out in support for making birth control available over the counter.

The Udall campaign Tuesday fired off a press release with a picture of Gardner at a GOP press conference back in 2008, among a handful of lawmakers who made a show of signing personhood petitions.

“Coloradans won’t be fooled by Congressman Gardner’s flailing attempts to hide his true agenda on radical Personhood measures, which he is still pushing in Washington,” Udall for Colorado spokesperson Kristin Lynch said. “Coloradans have repeatedly rejected the radical anti-choice measures that Congressman Gardner has supported, proving that Gardner’s record is just too extreme for Colorado.”

The Republican’s changed stance on personhood has alienated backers of the initiative.

“Women need the full range of health care options when it comes to family planning. Every woman is different and every situation is different,” said Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, at Tuesday’s rally.

“Amendment 67 does the opposite of giving women informed choices. It’s dangerous and it limits their freedom to live their own lives.”

11 comments

  • dapandico

    Hey eli, check this out:

    Despite heavy reliance on the “War on Women” theme during his tough re-election campaign, including pay equity, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., pays his full-time women staffers considerably less than the men who work for him

  • Anne Hatzakis

    This was a phenomenal rally to attend. The proposed amendment goes too far. There are ALREADY laws on the Colorado books to protect unborn children from the effects of violence towards their mothers and prosecute drunk drivers who cause fetal harm. THIS CRIMINALIZES ANY PREGNANCY RESULT OTHER THAN LIVE BIRTH

    • Susan Sutherland

      There is no Fetal Homicide charge, Anne, like 38 other states have. That’s what YES on 67 will do, recognize 2 victims and it’s sad that you and the others there at the rally will not be truthful about this. Please read the language of the bill and then explain how all the things you mention will come to pass when A67 kicks in. Start with ” In the commission of a crime…” as in, the Criminal Code and Wrongful Death Act.

  • IVF Dad

    Wish I could have attended. If this draconian proposition had been law 7 years ago, we wouldn’t have our beautiful, smart, 6 year old daughter today.

  • Susan Sutherland

    Writer of this article, Eli Stokols is either a liar, a very poor journalist or he simply has no integrity. Had he read the language of Amendment 67 he’d know that it is a Fetal Homicide Bill which will recognize 2 victims of crime. Did you know that 38 states have fetal homicide laws, Eli? Will anyone read the language and stop perpetuating the lies?

    In the interest of the protection of
    pregnant mothers and their unborn
    children from criminal offenses and
    negligent and wrongful acts, the
    words “person” and “child” in the
    Colorado Criminal Code and the
    Colorado Wrongful Death Act must
    include unborn human beings.

  • Essie Clovington

    I would argue this is a backdoor attempt to legally classify abortion as murder. Frankly, there is no shortage of humans walking around. Thus it is NO ONE’s business but to mother-to-be’s to decide on this particular course of action. Each must decide for themselves. So, BUTT OUT. If you slowed your emotions down long enough to think things through, one may well realize that the person who makes a conscious decision to have a child, precisely because there is the option of NOT having a child, ends up being a better dedicated parent. Their children are by CHOICE, not just because something happened to them.

  • Nate Marshall

    If you notice the women who normally support abortion are fat, nasty, ugly as sin and undeisrable. Who would want to knock them up anyway! #nastypoarasiticbitches

  • James Bowen

    Seniors should be fired up too about Cory Gardner and his constant lying about Medicare “going broke” so he that can justify his support for the Ryan plan to privatize that critical to seniors and future seniors health insurance.

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