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Under the Colorado government heretofore, the constitutional rights of unborn persons in Colorado have not been upheld.  

 

Colorado State Constitution: Article II, Section 3: Inalienable Rights

 

All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

 

Colorado State Constitution: Article II, Section 6: Equality of Justice

 

Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, property or character; and right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay.

 

Colorado State Constitution: Article II, Section 25: Due Process of Law

 

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.

 

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According to the definition for “person” found in Part 1, homicide specifically does not refer to unborn children in Colorado at this time.  Therefore they are not protected under criminal law in Colorado.  This could potentially be changed with a redefinition of the word “person”.  

 

Colorado Revised Statutes: Title 18, Article 3, Part 1: Homicide and Related Offenses

18-3-101. Definitions

As used in this part 1, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Homicide” means the killing of a person by another.
(2) “Person”, when referring to the victim of a homicide, means a human being who had been born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act.

 

18-3-102. Murder in the first degree
(1) A person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if:
(a) After deliberation and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, he causes the death of that person or of another person; or
(f) The person knowingly causes the death of a child who has not yet attained twelve years of age and the person committing the offense is one in a position of trust with respect to the victim.

(4) The statutory privilege between patient and physician and between husband and wife shall not be available for excluding or refusing testimony in any prosecution for the crime of murder in the first degree as described in paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of this section.

 

18-3-104. Manslaughter
(1) A person commits the crime of manslaughter if:
(a) Such person recklessly causes the death of another person; or

18-3-106. Vehicular homicide
(1) (a) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and such conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide.
(b) (I) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, and such conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide. This is a strict liability crime.

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There is a law known as the Wrongful Death Act that guarantees the right of heirs or close family to receive damages for deaths resulting from negligence:

 

Colorado Revised Statutes: Title 13, Article 21, Part 2: Damages for Death by Negligence

13-21-201. Damages for death
(1) When any person dies from any injury resulting from or occasioned by the negligence, unskillfulness, or criminal intent of any officer, agent, servant, or employee while running, conducting, or managing any locomotive, car, or train of cars, or of any driver of any coach or other conveyance operated for the purpose of carrying either freight or passengers for hire while in charge of the same as a driver, and when any passenger dies from an injury resulting from or occasioned by any defect or insufficiency in any railroad or any part thereof, or in any locomotive or car, or other conveyance operated for the purpose of carrying either freight or passengers for hire, the corporation or individuals in whose employ any such officer, agent, servant, employee, master, pilot, engineer, or driver is at the time such injury is committed, or who owns any such railroad, locomotive, car, or other conveyance operated for the purpose of carrying either freight or passengers for hire at the time any such injury is received, and resulting from or occasioned by the defect or insufficiency above described shall forfeit and pay for every person and passenger so injured the sum of not exceeding ten thousand dollars and not less than three thousand dollars, which may be sued for and recovered:
(c) (I) If the deceased is an unmarried minor without descendants or an unmarried adult without descendants and without a designated beneficiary pursuant to article 22 of title 15, C.R.S., by the father or mother who may join in the suit. Except as provided in subparagraphs (II) and (III) of this paragraph (c), the father and mother shall have an equal interest in the judgment, or if either of them is dead, then the surviving parent shall have an exclusive interest in the judgment.

 

13-21-202. Action notwithstanding death
When the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, and the act, neglect, or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then, and in every such case, the person who or the corporation which would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable in an action for damages notwithstanding the death of the party injured.

 

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Currently there is a proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution, that if the petition process is successful, would be on the Colorado ballot in 2014.  It is meant to apply the protections and justice for “persons” in the Colorado Criminal Code (all of Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes) and in the “Wrongful Death Act” which is C.R.S. Title 13, Article 21, Part 2.  The wording of the amendment, known as the Brady Amendment, is: 

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.

 

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Until 2013, there were statutes on the Colorado books restricting abortion (though some have been ruled unconstitutional), many of which have been repealed by a bill signed into law on June 5 this year.  This law is very similar to the stated intentions of the Brady Amendment in giving rights of damages to families of unborn children killed through negligence.  In other respects its intentions are directly opposed to the equal justice goals of the personhood-like Brady Amendment.  July 1, 2013, the law so far denoted by “H.B. 13-1154” took effect.  It is summarized on the official state web page

 

H.B. 13-1154 Crimes against pregnant women – unlawful termination of a pregnancy – repeal criminal abortion statutes – appropriations. 

The act creates a new article for offenses against pregnant women. The new offenses are unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first degree, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the second degree, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the third degree, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the fourth degree, vehicular unlawful termination of a pregnancy, aggravated vehicular unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and careless driving resulting in unlawful termination of a pregnancy. The act excludes from prosecution medical care for which the mother provided consent. The act does not confer the status of “person” upon a human embryo, fetus, or unborn child at any stage of development prior to live birth. The act repeals the criminal abortion statutes. The act makes the required 5-year statutory appropriation as required by section 2-2-703, Colorado Revised Statutes. 

 

APPROVED by Governor June 5, 2013 EFFECTIVE July 1, 2013

 

To read the full text of this new law, you can go to the Colorado legislature’s website

 

Particularly relevant to abortion are these parts: 

HB13-1154 Section 1:

(i) Additionally, nothing in this act shall be construed to permit the imposition of criminal penalties against a woman for actions she takes that result in the termination of her pregnancy; and

(j) Finally, nothing in this act shall be construed to permit the imposition of criminal penalties against a health care provider engaged in providing health care services to a patient.

 

C.R.S. 18-3.5-101: Definitions

(5) “PREGNANCY”, FOR PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE ONLY AND NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER DEFINITION OR USE TO THE CONTRARY, MEANS THE PRESENCE OF AN IMPLANTED HUMAN EMBRYO OR FETUS WITHIN THE UTERUS OF A WOMAN.

 

(7) “UNLAWFUL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY” MEANS THE TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY BY ANY MEANS OTHER THAN BIRTH OR A MEDICAL PROCEDURE, INSTRUMENT, AGENT, OR DRUG, FOR WHICH THE CONSENT OF THE PREGNANT WOMAN, OR A PERSON AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO ACT ON HER BEHALF, HAS BEEN OBTAINED, OR FOR WHICH THE PREGNANT WOMAN’S CONSENT IS IMPLIED BY LAW.

 

18-3.5-102. Exclusions

(1) NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL PERMIT THE PROSECUTION OF A PERSON FOR ANY ACT OF PROVIDING MEDICAL, OSTEOPATHIC, SURGICAL, MENTAL HEALTH, DENTAL, NURSING, OPTOMETRIC, HEALING, WELLNESS, OR PHARMACEUTICAL CARE; FURNISHING INPATIENT OR OUTPATIENT HOSPITAL OR CLINIC SERVICES; FURNISHING TELEMEDICINE SERVICES; OR FURNISHING ANY SERVICE RELATED TO ASSISTED REPRODUCTION OR GENETIC TESTING. 

(2) NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL PERMIT THE PROSECUTION OF A WOMAN FOR ANY ACT OR ANY FAILURE TO ACT WITH REGARD TO HER OWN PREGNANCY.

 

18-3.5-111. Construction

NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO CONFER THE STATUS OF “PERSON” UPON A HUMAN EMBRYO, FETUS, OR UNBORN CHILD AT ANY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT PRIOR TO LIVE BIRTH.

 

HB13-1154 SECTION 3: In Colorado Revised Statutes, repeal part 1 of article 6 of title 18, 12-32-107 (3) (m), 12-36-117 (1) (b), 25-1-1202 (1) (ee), and 30-10-606 (1) (d).

[See the abortion-relevant parts of these laws and links to them in the next section of this post.] 

 

13-22-105. Minors – birth control services rendered by physicians

Except as otherwise provided in part 1 of article 6 of title 18, C.R.S., Birth control procedures, supplies, and information may be furnished by physicians licensed under article 36 of title 12, C.R.S., to any minor who is pregnant, or a parent, or married, or who has the consent of his parent or legal guardian, or who has been referred for such services by another physician, a clergyman, a family planning clinic, a school or institution of higher education, or any agency or instrumentality of this state or any subdivision thereof, or who requests and is in need of birth control procedures, supplies, or information.

 

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The laws repealed in the preceding 2013 law include: 

Colorado Revised Statutes: 

18-6-101. Definitions
18-6-102. Criminal abortion
(1) Any person who intentionally ends or causes to be ended the pregnancy of a woman by any means other than justified medical termination or birth commits criminal abortion.

18-6-103. Pretended criminal abortion
18-6-104. Failure to comply
18-6-105. Distributing abortifacients

12-32-107. Issuance, revocation, or suspension of license – probation – immunity in professional review

(3) “Unprofessional conduct” as used in this article means:

(m) Procuring, or aiding or abetting in procuring, criminal abortion;

12-36-117. Unprofessional conduct

(1) “Unprofessional conduct” as used in this article means:

(b) Procuring, or aiding or abetting in procuring, criminal abortion;

 

25-1-1202. Index of statutory sections regarding medical record confidentiality and health information
(1) Statutory provisions concerning policies, procedures, and references to the release, sharing, and use of medical records and health information include the following:

(ee) Sections 18-6-101 to 18-6-104 C.R.S., concerning a justified medical termination of pregnancy;

 

30-10-606. Coroner – inquiry – grounds – postmortem – jury – certificate of death

(1) The coroner shall immediately notify the district attorney, proceed to view the body, and make all proper inquiry respecting the cause and manner of death of any person in his jurisdiction who has died under any of the following circumstances:

(d) From criminal abortion, including any situation where such abortion may have been self-induced;

 

All of those laws were repealed by the 2013 Colorado legislature.  

 

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In 2003 a similar law was passed, focusing on “unlawful termination of a pregnancy.”  It was known as an “unborn victims of violence act“, and it actually strengthened the legality of abortion in the state, by including professional medical and surgical abortions in the specification of which terminations of pregnancy are legal:

Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 18, Article 3.5: Unlawful Termination of Pregnancy

18-3.5-101. Unlawful termination of pregnancy

(1) A person commits the offense of unlawful termination of a pregnancy if, with intent to terminate unlawfully the pregnancy of another person, the person unlawfully terminates the other person’s pregnancy.

18-3.5-102. Exclusions
Nothing in this article shall permit the prosecution of a person for providing medical treatment, including but not limited to an abortion, in utero treatment, or treatment resulting in live birth, to a pregnant woman for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which consent is implied by law.

 
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Other parts of the Colorado Revised Statutes that apply to abortion include: 
Colorado Revised Statutes: Title 12, Article 37.5: Colorado Parental Notification Act
(1) The people of the state of Colorado, pursuant to the powers reserved to them in Article V of the Constitution of the state of Colorado, declare that family life and the preservation of the traditional family unit are of vital importance to the continuation of an orderly society; that the rights of parents to rear and nurture their children during their formative years and to be involved in all decisions of importance affecting such minor children should be protected and encouraged, especially as such parental involvement relates to the pregnancy of an unemancipated minor, recognizing that the decision by any such minor to submit to an abortion may have adverse long-term consequences for her.
(2) The people of the state of Colorado, being mindful of the limitations imposed upon them at the present time by the federal judiciary in the preservation of the parent-child relationship, hereby enact into law the following provisions.

12-37.5-103. Definitions
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Minor” means a person under eighteen years of age.
(2) “Parent” means the natural or adoptive mother and father of the minor who is pregnant, if they are both living; one parent of the minor if only one is living, or if the other parent cannot be served with notice, as hereinafter provided; or the court-appointed guardian of such minor if she has one or any foster parent to whom the care and custody of such minor shall have been assigned by any agency of the state or county making such placement.
(3) “Abortion” for purposes of this article means the use of any means to terminate the pregnancy of a minor with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the minor’s unborn offspring.
(5) “Medical emergency” means a condition that, on the basis of the physician’s good-faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant minor as to necessitate a medical procedure necessary to prevent the pregnant minor’s death or for which a delay will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.

12-37.5-104. Notification concerning abortion
(1) No abortion shall be performed upon an unemancipated minor until at least 48 hours after written notice of the pending abortion has been delivered in the following manner:
(a) The notice shall be addressed to the parent at the dwelling house or usual place of abode of the parent. Such notice shall be delivered to the parent by:
(I) The attending physician or member of the physician’s immediate staff who is over the age of eighteen; or
(II) The sheriff of the county where the service of notice is made, or by his deputy; or
(III) Any other person over the age of eighteen years who is not related to the minor; or
(IV) A clergy member who is over the age of eighteen.

 

12-37.5-105. No notice required – when

12-37.5-106. Penalties – damages – defenses

12-37.5-107. Judicial bypass

12-37.5-108. Limitations
(1) This article shall in no way be construed so as to:
(a) Require any minor to submit to an abortion; or
(b) Prevent any minor from withdrawing her consent previously given to have an abortion; or
(c) Permit anything less than fully informed consent before submitting to an abortion.
(2) This article shall in no way be construed as either ratifying, granting or otherwise establishing an abortion right for minors independently of any other regulation, statute or court decision which may now or hereafter limit or abridge access to abortion by minors.

 

25-3-110. Emergency contraception – definitions

 

25-6-101. Legislative declaration
(1) Continuing population growth either causes or aggravates many social, economic, and environmental problems, both in this state and in the nation.

25-6-102. Policy, authority, and prohibitions against restrictions
(1) All medically acceptable contraceptive procedures, supplies, and information shall be readily and practicably available to each person desirous of the same regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, disability, age, income, number of children, marital status, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, or motive.
(10) To the extent family planning funds are available, each agency and institution of this state and each of its political subdivisions shall provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, and information, including permanent sterilization procedures, to indigent persons free of charge and to other persons at cost.

 

25-6-201. This part 2 to be liberally construed
This part 2 shall be liberally construed to protect the rights of all individuals to pursue their religious beliefs, to follow the dictates of their own consciences, to prevent the imposition upon any individual of practices offensive to the individual’s moral standards, to respect the right of every individual to self-determination in the procreation of children, and to insure a complete freedom of choice in pursuance of constitutional rights.

25-6-202. Services to be offered by the county
The governing body of each county and each city and county or any county or district public health agency thereof or any welfare department thereof may provide and pay for, and each county and each city and county or any public health agency or county or district public health agency thereof or any welfare department thereof may offer, family planning and birth control services to every parent who is a public assistance recipient and to any other parent or married person who might have interest in, and benefit from, such services; except that no county or city and county or public health agency thereof is required by this section to seek out such persons.

 

25-6-203. Extent of services

25-6-205. Services may be refused
The refusal of any person to accept family planning and birth control services shall in no way affect the right of such person to receive public assistance or to avail himself of any other public benefit, and every person to whom such services are offered shall be so advised initially both orally and in writing. County and city and county employees engaged in the administration of this part 2 shall recognize that the right to make decisions concerning family planning and birth control is a fundamental personal right of the individual, and nothing in this part 2 shall in any way abridge such individual right, nor shall any individual be required to state his reason for refusing the offer of family planning and birth control services.

25-6-207. County employee exemption

To God be all glory, 

Lisa of Longbourn

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Ending the life of an innocent human being is wrong!
So.  Some analysis:
Pro-choice people cannot legitimately say that
the “product of conception”
is not alive
or that he is not innocent
or that he is not a human being.
All are quite obvious facts.
By definition they are ending whatever-he-is through an abortion or “termination”. 
The only thing left is to doubt the assertion that the act is wrong.
But if ending the life of an innocent human being is not wrong,
then how am I safe
from having my life ended?
How are you safe?
Who decides?
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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It seems to me a good idea for our laws to be based on truth.  If the meaning of “miles per hour” is ambiguous, I would want to find the true definition of miles and hour rather than arbitrarily setting up some other explanation.  No argument about how an accurate definition of miles would infringe my freedom to drive as fast as I wanted should be considered.  We might change the law to increase the speed limit if that is our argument, but we cannot keep the existing law and just lie about what all the words mean.

Personhood is such an issue.  We have a law that guarantees life and due process to all persons.  If we don’t like that law, we can try to change it so that not all persons are so guaranteed.  (That law, incidentally, is based on a moral judgment that murder is wrong.  Many of our laws are enforcement of morality.)  What we cannot do is alter the definition of a person to mean something that it truly does not.  Defining the word “person” to include my rocking chair would be absurd.  Including my pet would be a stretch not intended by those who wrote the law.  Excluding my neighbor with freckles is dishonest.  Saying that my neighbor in the womb is less of a person than me is too arbitrary to be good science or good law.

Some would argue that the truth reflected in our laws should be based on precedent.  This breaks down for a number of reasons.  First, we have the problem of where the very first precedents got their truth.  History does not record an eternal list of precedents.  Secondly, we can point to many court rulings that have been made by liars, self-serving judges who refused to acknowledge the truth.  For example, see the slavery decision Dred Scott.  Finally, precedents can (and sometimes should) be overturned.  The “landmark” ruling that made abortion legal throughout the USA, Roe v. Wade, overturned many state laws that had been in existence for years.  It wasn’t that the question of reproductive rights had never been in court before; this was simply the first time the Supreme Court said abortion was a mother’s “right.”  (I must specify that it was seen as a woman’s right, not a man’s right or a baby’s right – which is important.  Roe v. Wade rests in the supposition that the baby is actually a part of the mother, thus giving her special privileges to end his life.  US law does not give a man the right to decide a mother must abort.  In fact, it will punish those criminals who assault a preborn child.  Nor does the legal system ask the baby, who is demonstrably a separate entity from his mother, whether he wants to be aborted, or acknowledge his right to life.  This is what Personhood seeks to amend.)

Another supposed basis for the truth of our laws is democracy.  What does the majority believe or want?  While our government is set up as a participatory representative system, where the voice of the people influences the leaders making the laws and even at times the laws themselves, this is arguably not the best means for ensuring justice.  The majority has sometimes voted for terrorist governments.  Or for slavery.  Hitler got his first foothold of power through democracy.  A majority of people once believed the world was flat.  We human beings are special, but not powerful enough to mold truth as we wish it was.  Republics like ours, the founding fathers warned us, are only sustainable, only free, if they are comprised of a moral citizenry.  The people must acknowledge a standard outside of themselves, and align with that, for freedom and justice to exist.

Can science be used to decide such a moral and philosophical question as what constitutes life or personhood?  We already have these philosophical terms in our law.  These words have been applied to at least some groups of humanity since the law was written.  No one disputes that the word “person” applies to a large part of humanity (always including the one making the judgment).  And here comes science, demonstrating that there is no significant, meaningful difference between one group of human beings and another.  Science can demonstrate that skin color is not a factor in personhood.  Size does not make person more of a person.  In fact, science can tell us that a human being has the same unique DNA from the moment of conception, at their birth, as they grow from infants to adolescents to fully-formed adults, even as they age and their health declines.

Any lines that have been proposed distinguishing one class of human beings as non-persons have been arbitrary.  Every person needs two things to continue living: nourishment and defense from violence.  The fertilized egg, the single-celled human embryo, needs only these things to develop into an adult.  An infant 1 year of age is still very dependent on his parents for the necessary nourishment and protection.  But given these things, he will grow into a man.  A young woman has to go through puberty to give her the hourglass shape associated with womanhood (and the ability to reproduce).  Where do you draw the line?  Which of these stages begins personhood?

In the history of this debate, the line of personhood has been suggested to begin:

–         at some point after birth when the baby is still dependent on his parents.  (If we draw the line at 3 months, was he less of a human the 24 hours before he was 3 months?  Honestly?)

–         at the first breath of air.  (Are humans receiving CPR or on ventilators not people?  What about the pre-mi’s born and kept alive for months by artificial breathing machines, to be weaned off when their lungs developed fully?)

–         when the baby completely leaves the womb – birth.  (Ten inches decides the identity of a human being?  There have been surgeries performed on preborn babies that involve removing the infants from the womb and then returning them there.  Are they people while out of the womb, then non-people again?  What has changed in the baby?)

–         at viability.  (Come What May, a film produced by the students at Patrick Henry College, makes the point that when we talk about viability, we are talking about viability sustained by human inventions.  Most babies are viable in the womb.  When we talk about viability, though, we disqualify that means of life support and substitute our own.  Man is not better than God at providing a hospitable environment for the youngest among us.  Even aside from that argument, our technology is improving.  A child who was not viable outside the womb 20 years ago might be now.  Nothing changed in the abilities or nature of the children.  We changed.)

–         when the mother can first detect movement – sometimes called “quickening.”  (Some mothers are more sensitive to the movement of their child than others.  Body shape and other factors might contribute to missing the first sensations of motion.  Also, some preborn babies move less or less emphatically than others.  We know from scientific experience that the baby is moving: swimming – from day one when he moves to the uterus!, kicking, waving, turning, changing facial expressions.  Again, this line is not dependent on the nature of the being inside the mother.)

–         at the beginning of biological development – called fertilization or conception.  (At this point a new life is begun.  Already his DNA has determined his features, his gender, his blood type – all of which can be different from his mother’s.  Before this moment, more was needed than nourishment and protection.  After this he will grow at his own body’s initiative and direction.)

All but the last “line” are arbitrary – as arbitrary as me deciding you were not a person because you live in the country, or because your skin is a different color from mine, or because I can whistle and you can’t (actually, I can’t), or worse: if I can’t hear you whistle even when you are.  Science and a bit of logic can recognize that there is no objective difference between adults like us and the kids who are so needy and the preborn.  Draw the line at conception.  Anything else is discrimination.

One more point I’d like to address is the legal objection many put forward.  In most abortion laws, pro-abortion activists push for “exceptions,” when a baby may still be killed.  They say that oh yes, abortion is a tragedy and we want it to be rare.  But surely there are bigger tragedies that abortion could solve: rape, incest, the life of the mother.

Regarding the “life of the mother” exception: our definition of person begins at conception.  It doesn’t end at birth.  This definition includes mothers.  The life of the baby is not, by this truth-reliant definition, more or less important than the mother’s.  Doctors and parents would be legally required to treat that baby as a person, without treating the mother as a non-person.  That’s the answer to the most common “life of the mother” clause.  No exception is necessary in the wording used by Personhood groups, because they affirm the right of the mother to life as well as the right of the baby.

But there are other “exceptions” argued for.  These tragedies are chosen for the exception list emotionally.  Why not include in the list: financial incompetence, household over-population, genetic deformity?  And if you go that far, why not make exceptions for gender, for the mom’s busy career, for her relationship with the father?  I’m not saying that everyone pushing for a few exceptions wants all of these exceptions.  My goal is to make it obvious that to be consistent in their reasoning, they should include all of these exceptions.  In every case the baby is a person.

That’s why I want to finish by asking you a few questions:

–         Is a human being not a person if her father is a rapist?  Is a 3 year old not a person if her father is a rapist?  Do you have less rights if your father was a rapist?

–         Is a human being not a person if his mother gets cancer?  Is a 3 year old not a person if his mom gets cancer?  Do you have less rights if your mother gets cancer?

–         Is a human being not a person if he and his mother are in danger and only one of them can be rescued?  Is a 3 year old not a person if he and his mother are in danger and only one of them can be rescued?  Do you have less rights if you and your mother are in danger and only one of you can be rescued?

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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This may be a little belated for anyone trying to decide how to vote around here.  Then again we have a lot of procrastinators in this country.  Whether you’ve already voted or not, or even if you don’t live in Colorado, I hope that this little study of the ballot issues and why I am for or against them will educate you on my views about government. 

 

Amendment 46: Discrimination and Preferential Treatment by Governments prohibited excepting federal programs, existing court orders or other legally binding agreements and bona fide qualifications based on sex. 

 

The text of this amendment prohibits government discrimination FOR or against people seeking public employment, education, or contracts.  It lists race, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin as the categories protected against discrimination.  I do not believe that this is any threat to our liberties as a nation, nor an affront to our morals.  The language prohibits affirmative action, which is one of the most frustrating forms of intentional discrimination practiced in our country.  I’m glad to support an amendment restricting this injustice. 

 

YES on Amendment 46. 

 

Amendment 47: Prohibition on Mandatory Labor Union Membership and Dues (as a condition of employment; including government and private employers)

 

For my thoughts on this issue, I am grateful to a friend who works in businesses where membership in a union is the only way contractors are connected with work.  The bidding process is handled by unions, or something like that.  So if membership in a union were not mandatory, then either there would be no work for them or some employees who are union men would carry the financial load for their coworkers in an essential part of their business. 

 

Secondly, this law places restrictions on the employer, which is not healthy for an economy.  I believe that the owner of a business has a right to do as he will with his business, and if employees don’t like the way they’re treated or the conditions of their employment, they can look for a new job.  This is the free market system.  I almost always side with employers and owners. 

 

NO on Amendment 47. 

 

Amendment 48: Definition of Person

 

I have covered this topic at length on this blog.  The Colorado Constitution guarantees certain rights to all persons in this state.  We in the pro-life movement believe that this law, which includes the right to life and due process, should have been applied all along to all persons, no matter how small, including the unborn.  The fact that over 40 abortions are performed in Colorado every day is evidence that this law is not being enforced this way.  Thousands of innocent babies are being deprived of their fundamental and legal right to life because judges have declared this word “person” to be ambiguous.  The campaign argues that medical science and common sense make it clear when life and personhood begins, and it is at fertilization.  There is no other possible and logical place at which to draw the line.  We believe that defining personhood will uplift the value we as citizens of Colorado place on life, from the smallest among us to the strongest and healthiest adult to the sick or the elderly. 

 

Arguments against this amendment center selfishly around the repercussions of acknowledging the inescapable fact that these tiny lives are persons.  Opponents would rather deny the personhood of these babies so that they can continue to murder them for any and every reason.  These campaigners, who stand to lose a profitable industry in abortion, threaten that this law will force mothers to sacrifice their lives for terminal preborn children in cases such as eptopic pregnancies.  However, the law will not assert the rights of one life over another.  If a woman’s life is at risk, or the life of a twin is really threatened by a child, nothing in this law prohibits the defense of the endangered lives.  Do not let these tragic instances keep you from defending 40 babies a day or more by defining them in the law as we already know them scientifically to be: individual living persons. 

 

YES on Amendment 48. 

 

Amendment 49:  Prohibit the government from deducting things like union dues from the paychecks of public employees. 

 

This law will protect public employees from deductions not endorsed by the government.  At present employees must take extra action to prevent the deductions.  This would put the burden of collection of union dues or other contributions on the unions, relieving the government from the burden of collecting the money for them.  We shouldn’t make the government the middle man for other agencies. 

 

YES on Amendment 49.

 

Amendment 50: Return decisions about the limits on Gaming (gambling) in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to the respective communities, including casino hours, types of games offered, and limits on bet amounts. 

 

I am morally opposed to gambling, and thus believe that it should be illegal.  This is not the case in Colorado, but I do not want it expanded.  Additionally, this law directs most of the potential additional revenue to State community colleges.  I believe it is none of the government’s business to be involved in education in any way, let alone in funding.  And I always vote against increases in taxes until the government can prove themselves good and law-abiding stewards of the money already entrusted to them. 

 

NO on Amendment 50. 

 

Amendment 51: Increases the state sales tax and directs the revenue to services for people with developmental disabilities.  

 

Again, I always vote against tax increases until the government can prove themselves faithful stewards of our money.  However, if they were to use part of their existing budget to fund social or charity programs like this, I would consider them failing in their trust.  Charity is best done privately, without government middle men.  I do not want my government taking the privilege of administering help to my neighbors away for me.  When they do this, the people begin to view the government more and more as the savior and provider.  They will continually vote themselves largesse, as Alexander de Toqueville warned.  I believe we should help these people, but I believe the help should be private, led by individuals, charities, and churches. 

 

NO on Amendment 51. 

 

Amendment 52: Use severance tax (which has nothing to do with our normal use of the word severance) revenue for highways. 

 

This law takes budgeting into the hands of the people.  However, it is a narrow-minded and inflexible law not allowing for changing and competing needs of things other than transportation.  Not only does the law limit the use of this revenue to highways; it specifies which highways, which is not at all a fair deal for all of Colorado.  The legislature is responsible for directing money to important projects like government highways and water storage.  Though I have little confidence in our legislature at the moment, I believe the solution is to elect men of integrity to office, who will be competent representatives in our state; not to take responsibility away from them in one of their few legitimate spheres. 

 

NO on Amendment 52. 

 

Amendment 53 has been withdrawn per proponent’s request and no votes for or against will be recorded. 

 

Amendment 54: Campaign Contributions from Certain Government Contractors.  This law would do three things: 1) prohibit contractors working for the government, whose contracts are worth more than $100,000 and whose award of the contract was not the result of solicitation of at least three competitive bids, from contributing to political parties or candidates during the contract’s duration and 2 years after.  2) Encourage government entities to solicit 3 competitive bids for each contract.  3) Set up an online, publicly accessible database of all government contracts awarded to companies for which there was no competitive bid. 

 

I am not opposed to requiring governments to welcome competitive bids for projects.  This is the responsible and honest thing to do.  The online database is a little over the top, but their heart is in the right place.  HOWEVER, I am 100% opposed to prohibiting a company or individual from contributing to a candidate or party of their choice.  The way to prevent corruption is to elect honest officials and to pay close attention to the government, not to restrict the rights of free men in this state.  An honest contractor can have interests in seeing one candidate elected, and ought to be able to do his part to ensure that victory without being accused of paying for the privilege of government contracts.  (For example, a small businessman may want to contribute money to a candidate who says he will lower taxes on small business versus an opponent who will raise them.  The businessman if he is smart will realize it is in his economic interest to help the lower tax candidate to be elected, and ought to be free to contribute money to that candidate.)  We cannot ask our contractors to surrender their right to political involvement simply so they can have work.  Fight corruption other ways! 

 

NO on Amendment 54. 

 

Amendments 55, 56, and 57 have been withdrawn by their respective proponents.  No votes for or against will be reported. 

 

Amendment 58: Increase the amount of state severance taxes paid by oil and natural gas companies, and allocate that revenue to college scholarships, wildlife habitats, renewable energy projects, and transportation projects in energy-impacted areas.  And exempt all oil and gas severance tax revenue from state and local spending limits. 

 

I am against raising taxes.  In some campaigns this season tax cuts for oil companies has been thrown around like a slur, but it is not.  Tax credits are the way that the tax system is designed.  I don’t like it, but until you change the whole thing you can’t just eliminate one part of it.  Oil companies are not bad guys.  The reason people don’t like them is because we were paying $4 a gallon for gasoline earlier this year.  The government took a large portion of that amount in taxes.  If we raise taxes on the companies that supply gasoline, they will either have to cut spending (and reduce supply!) or pass on the price hike to us the consumers.  What’s more, the tax credit is an incentive for oil and gas industries to do business in Colorado.  We do not want the jobs and revenue they provide to leave our state for more competitive areas. 

 

I do not want revenue to go to colleges, to wildlife habitats (since when is this a legitimate concern for a government?), renewable energy (get the energy companies to invest in these technologies themselves; they will), etc. 

 

NO on Amendment 58. 

 

Amendment 59: Eliminate the rebates that taxpayers receive when the state collects more money than it is allowed, and spend the money on preschool through 12th grade public education. 

 

No to tax increases.  Do not eliminate TABOR, the main pillar of which is essentially to balance the state budget by requiring refunds to taxpayers when we are taxed over budget.  No to public schools.  Schooling is a private responsibility, dangerous and inefficient in the hands of the government. 

 

While I’m at it I’ll throw in the State Referendums, too. 

 

Referendum L: lower the age requirement for serving in the state legislature from 25 to 21. 

 

Why not?  The fact that we have so many ages defining maturity in our state is ridiculous.  At sixteen you can get a driver’s license, at 18 you can vote.  When you are 21 you can drink.  And at 25 you can be a member of the legislature.  (There are ages for adopting and renting cars, for buying lottery tickets and being out after curfew.  It’s all a very confusing mess.)  You may say that there are very irresponsible 21 year olds.  Yet 21 year olds can vote, and a stack of voting 21 year olds can do a lot more damage than one 21 year old who must be duly elected before holding office.  If a 21 year old is counted qualified for the job by the people, he ought to have the job.  My brother is 20.  If he did a little research on government and wanted to run for office, I would want the privilege of voting for him.  Because while there are admittedly immature 21 year olds (and 25 year olds, and 50 year olds!), there are also mature and capable ones. 

 

YES on Referendum L. 

 

Referendum M and Referendum N are about removing obsolete provisions from the laws.  I am not opposed to this, but read them; they constitute a mini-history lesson. 

 

Referendum O: Change requirements for citizen-initiated State laws. 

 

Right now citizens (as opposed to government officials/legislators) can initiate state amendments or statutes that must meet certain requirements to make the ballot, and even then must be approved by voters.  And amendment is part of the constitution, originally intended to describe the rights of the people and the limits of the government.  These laws are permanent unless repealed by the people with another constitutional amendment.  Statutes are laws as well, but refer more to the practical application of principles (traffic laws, etc.)  Statutes may be made or altered by the legislature without reference to the people in an election.  Or they may be citizen-initiated.  By nature, statutes are less permanent.  Presently the requirements for getting either an amendment or a statute on the ballot are the same, and they are relatively easy compared to other states. 

 

Referendum O seeks to make statutes easier to put on the ballot by reducing the number of petition signatures required. 

 

The referendum would make amendments harder to get on the ballot in two primary ways: 1) increase the required number of signatures.  2) require that eight percent of signatures be gathered from each congressional district

 

I’m up in the air on whether I want it to be easy or hard for citizens to initiate legislation.  I’ve heard arguments on either side.  HOWEVER, I am completely opposed to this referendum because of the 8% requirement.  An amendment could be blocked from the ballot by a minority, by one section of the state.  I’m not sure what the lines are for congressional districts, but this referendum would say that if Boulder residents didn’t want an amendment, even if Pueblo, Grand Junction, Greeley, Bennet, Denver, and Estes Park wanted it, the petition would be rejected.  This is not republican government.  It is rule by a minority.  This would prevent legislation that would be in the interest of the state as a whole from being even introduced in ballot form because one district decided it was not in their interest.  We cannot do this. 

 

NO on Referendum O. 

 

I’m welcoming you to interact with this “voter guide” for educational purposes.  Please do not campaign in the comment section.  Comments are moderated, and I’m giving fair warning that I may choose not to post some comments.  However, if your comments are gracious and profitable for the conversation, I will post them even in disagreement that we all may be sharpened. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Update: In Colorado’s election 2008 (November), the Personhood Amendment is Amendment 48.  I will be voting YES on 48. 
This week the Colorado Personhood Amendment submitted more than 130,000 petition signatures in order to put the proposed amendment on the ballot in 2008.  This is huge, and I am very excited.  The campaign is only beginning, with a battle coming in the next several months to get the word out. 
 
Abort73.com, about which I wrote several months ago, has a collection of embryology textbook quotes and government on-the-record conclusions about when life begins.  You can read it and other related information here.  So far I haven’t found any specific resources describing the implications of the proposed amendment.  To be honest I have not looked too hard.  A reporter for Townhall, Michael Foust, wrote an article summarizing the history of the amendment very well. 
 
There have been some objections to this amendment from reasonable people.  Some people at my church thought that petitions and anything government-related did not belong at church.  I took my petition to church, and collected about ten signatures there.  My opinion waffled.  I offered it to my Sunday school class.  It was in the bulletin and I stood in the foyer with it.  Only a few times, with people I thought I knew well enough, did I ask if certain friends had signed it.  I’m naturally a non-aggressive person.  There were other people taking the aggressive position with their petitions at my church.  That reassured me, actually, that the audience for my petition was covered, just not by me.  I don’t disagree with the other petition circulators. 
 
One problem many people have begun to recognize and address at church is that we don’t connect our education or our spiritual experiences with obedience and action.  There are no laws against circulating petitions at church, and the amendment is definitely not associated with any political party.  Church is a community gathering, a great place to talk about what really matters.  What better place to invite people to sign a petition that is, rather than bringing politics to church, bringing truth into politics. 
 
Another objection is that, while a Christian and a scientist and any thinking or moral person may realize that life begins at conception, the government should stay out of it.  There is flawed logic here, but I think the problem is in the view of government.  What is a government’s role?  What does the Bible say about it?  Abort73.com says, “God established government to be His legal representative on earth (Romans 13:1,2). God established government to keep sinful people from doing evil against each other (Romans 13:3). While it is true that individuals are called to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39), the government is not (Romans 13:4). The government is called to execute judgement upon those who do wickedly. Arguing that the government must not restrict an individual’s free moral agency, is nothing more than an argument for anarchy.”
 
Finally, a lot of people are worried that the personhood amendment is a sneaky way of outlawing birth control and contraception.  Roe v. Wade pointed out the lack of concensus and official definition of person – the definitions by which the constitutional protections and due process would become relevant.  The amendment closes the loophole, and gives legislators and judges a platform on which to act and enforce.  But the question should not be, “Are religious people trying to tell me what to do and change the way I am used to living my life?” but, “If life begins at conception, what must I do to respect that life?”  Ultimately, the fact that this amendment is out there, being discussed and advocated, is going to make people face the question: am I harming or killing a human life? 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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Have you seen this website?  Abort73.com 
The website is Christian, immense, well-documented, with some videos and some articles and a lot of facts.  Their idea is to educate the youth about what abortion is.  When women are at the abortion clinics, they’ve already made a decision.  They’re already desperate.  They have a “friend” with them to keep them from changing their mind.  And they have been counseled to ignore the lying lunatics outside with signs, flyers, and offers of help.  But what if, before the decision ever came up, everyone knew what the “choice” really looked like?  What if most people chose ahead of time to never have an abortion, because it would be horrific murder of a real live human person? 
Abort73 is trying to get the word out via t-shirts and gear students have at school.  I’m linking it in my blogs to spread it as well. 
What’s more, if you need a fact about abortion, this is a great resource.  Use the search box right at the top to look up your topic, be it birth control, the law, the history of abortion, statistics on abortion, scientists on the progression of life…  Use this to inform yourself and those you know. 
The newest video they made is like a commercial for the personhood amendment we’re hoping to get ratified in Colorado this year. 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn
Thanks to Hank from Lawn Gospel for introducing me to Abort73

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