Neck deep in ballot initiatives — Part III

Today we’ll have another look at Amendment 48, the Fertilized Eggs are People Too provision.

Colorado’s state constitution contains a bill of rights that includes the following near-and-dear-to-our-hearts provisions:

Article II, Section 3:

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.

Article II, Section 6:

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.

Article II, Section 25:

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

Amendment 48 would amend the state constitution by defining the term “person” or “persons” as used in the above-quoted provisions to include “any human being from the moment of fertilization.”

There’s been a lot of insane and overheated rhetoric on both sides of the Amendment 48 dispute. The anti-48 people are saying that the proposal would make murderers out of way too many people. For an example, check out this Denver Post editorial opposing the amendment.

The fear is understandable. After all, “outlawing abortion” was the stated goal of the Christian fundamentalists who devised this abomination. However, as I explained here quite some time ago, the amendment doesn’t do that all by itself. It would take some pretty substantial revisions to the criminal code to “outlaw abortion” in the sense of making women who get abortions or doctors who perform them “murderers.”

I oppose Amendment 48 for several reasons. First, the notion that a an egg is a “human being” from the moment of conception is a religious one. Government endorsement of religious notions is and always has been a bad idea.

Second, although I’m fairly sure what the immediate consequences of 48 won’t be, I haven’t got the first clue as to what they will be. The potential for heinous unintended and unforseen consequences is off the charts here.

Third, the amendment is at odds with the approach the U.S. Supreme Court uses to decide abortion rights under the federal Constitution. We have better things to do with our limited supply of public money than spend it on legal bills to defend the amendment against the inevitable federal constitutional challenge.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, Amendment 48 rolls out the welcome mat for a plethora of Christian right frivolous litigation boutiques. Pass this monstrosity and Liberty Counsel, Liberty Legal Institute, Alliance Defense Fund, Thomas More Law Center, etc. will be all over Colorado recruiting plaintiffs for all sorts of court-clogging nonsense. Let’s sue the General Assembly to make it amend the criminal code to correspond with Amendment 48! Constitutional torts anyone? Let’s get some stranger appointed personal representative of an aborted fetus’s estate and sue the mother and her doctor for wrongful death! The possibilities are endless. And ridiculous. And odious.

More: The good folks at SquareState have a couple of the latest Amendment 48 video ads here. lmfao@”eggmendment”.

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  • dianahsieh  On October 17, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you for your opposition to Amendment 48!

    You might be interested to read an issue paper published by the Coalition for Secular Government: “Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person” by Ari Armstrong and myself. It’s available at:

    Diana Hsieh
    Founder, Coalition for Secular Government

  • genghishitler  On October 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Diana.

    FWIW, I highly highly recommend reading the paper that Diana linked. Anyone who’s still undecided on 48 would benefit greatly, and the paper is a good read in any event.

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