DENVER — Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced Monday that a proposal to amend the state constitution to redefine “personhood”, a measure posed by pro-life activists as an effort to undermine abortion rights, will be on the November 2014 ballot.
The initiative will appear on the Nov. 4, 2014 General Election ballot as Amendment 67 and will ask: “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining ‘person’ and ‘child’ in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings?”
After a computer-generated sampling of the 140,049 signatures turned in by the proponents of the measure, Gessler’s office determined that there are an estimated 109,612 valid signatures, well above the 86,105 signature threshold to qualify for the ballot.
Colorado voters have twice rejected Personhood initiatives by large margins.
In 2008, anti-abortion activists put forth a measure that would have granted fertilized eggs all the rights of living humans, which would outlaw abortion at any point in a pregnancy.
The measure failed by a 73 to 27 percent margin.
The same advocates tried again in 2010. Voters again rejected it by a 3 to 1 margin.
“What part of No don’t they understand? The third time isn’t a charm and this same small group of proponents, who don’t represent the majority of Coloradans, needs to stop wasting our time and money,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Executive Director Karen Middleton in a statement.
But while Democrats are feigning outrage, they’re also licking their chops at having this issue back on the ballot during an election when Coloradans will be deciding whether to give Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, both Democrats, a second term in their respective jobs.
The issue can be a thorny one for Republican candidates — a litmus test for voters in primary elections where candidates are looking to appeal to the party’s conservative base, and then a liability in general elections where moderate suburban women often determine the outcome.