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Personhood amendment fails in Colo.

DENVER (BP)–The single pro-life initiative on the ballot this fall, Colorado’s personhood amendment, failed by a 3-1 margin, but supporters say they were victorious simply by raising awareness of the beginning of life.

Amendment 62 would have added a section to the Colorado constitution’s Bill of Rights noting that the term “person” shall apply “to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”

“We ran a really strong campaign, and we’ve made a difference,” Personhood Colorado director Keith Mason said, according to The Denver Post.

The amendment’s supporters said they had persuaded some women to give birth rather than choose abortion. Jennifer Mason, a Personhood Colorado spokeswoman, said, “We’re excited to try again next election.”

A similar ballot measure was defeated in 2008, also by a 3-1 margin, but the wording was slightly different. That proposal defined a person as a “human being from the moment of conception.”

The intent of Amendment 62 was to have a dramatic impact on Colorado’s abortion laws, correcting a legal notion that a preborn child is property rather than a person, Keith Mason told Baptist Press before the vote.

“Legally speaking, preborn children are able to be killed by abortion because they are considered property of the mother and not a person…. It will bring the arguments of personhood to court for the first time since Roe v. Wade,” Mason said, anticipating a legal challenge if the amendment had passed.

Opponents to Amendment 62 were well-funded, with the “No on 62” campaign being led by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and New Era Colorado, which raised about $578,000 in cash contributions, The Post said. That figure was nearly 10 times as much funding as supporters received.

As part of their push to defeat the measure, opponents said the amendment would not only end abortion but lead to a prohibition of emergency contraception and limit treatment for miscarriages, tubal pregnancies and infertility. Supporters said those claims were exaggerated and distorted.

Amendment 62 was controversial also among pro-lifers, with quarterback Tim Tebow’s mother Pam endorsing it but the Colorado Eagle Forum opposing it as a mistaken approach and recommending instead a stronger effort to elect pro-life candidates.

“We look at this as more of a movement for constitutional change,” Mason said, “and it’s starting on the local level, which will reach the federal level once we’ve grown enough.”

In Mississippi, a judge ruled in favor of a personhood initiative to appear on that state’s ballot next fall.

Judge Malcom Harrison of Hinds County rejected a motion Oct. 26 to prevent Measure Number 26, also known as the Mississippi Personhood Amendment, from going before the people in 2011, The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported.

Amendment foes who filed suit to block the initiative from the ballot said they would appeal to the state Supreme Court, according to the newspaper.

The proposed amendment says, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach and Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.

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