By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
An opposition campaign was announced yesterday to a pro-life ballot question that would give human rights to embryos.
Protect Families Protect Choices says it will begin an “aggressive” campaign against Amendment 62, which was qualified by the Secretary of State’s office last month for the November 2010 ballot.
A similar effort failed in 2008 when it received only 27 percent of the vote. The initiative would effectively ban abortion in the State of Colorado.
“Here we go again,” said Leslie Durgin, lead organizer of the opposition campaign and vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Amendment 62 is bad policy, bad law and bad medicine.”
Proponents of the initiative are confident that they will have better success this year. Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA, points out that this year proponents have slashed the term “fertilization” from the ballot question, instead using the phrase “biological development.” The amendment would read, “The term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”
Mason believes the new language will serve his campaign well. He adds that the campaign in 2008 will help boost numbers this year.
“I was very encouraged by the numbers last year,” Mason has told the Denver Daily News, pointing out that the Personhood campaign garnered 580,000 votes last year while a 2006 initiative to define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman was backed by voters with only 630,000 votes.
“There’s only a 50,000-vote gap there. So, to me that was very encouraging,” he continued. “(2008) was a very different year, there was an unprecedented number of voters that came out, and so it was a crazy year as far as turnout, especially with a lot of liberal-leaning voters that turned out because of the Democratic National Convention (in Denver) and things like that. So, I think percentage-wise, in the number of votes that were received, I think what we’ll see is the percentage will climb this year.”
But Protect Families Protect Choices points out that 1.7 million Coloradans rejected the 2008 ballot question. They say every age group opposed the amendment, and opposition was high among men and women and nearly every demographic group.
Opponents do not believe the change in language will help Personhood supporters because it still “presents the same dangerous outcomes.”
“In 2008, voters learned that the ‘definition of a person’ amendment was an overt attempt to insert religion into law,” said Jeremy Shaver, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. We will fight once again to make sure Coloradans know the truth about Amendment 62.”