Politics should be focus of personhood coverage

UPDATE: This blog post was corrected on 8-7-2-12. Scott Tipton did not support the personhood measure in 2010, as previously reported here.


Another attempt at passing a personhood amendment, defining zygotes as people, would almost certainly fail if it makes the Colorado ballot next year, given that it’s gone down decisively twice in a row.

So journalists covering the announcement today by personhood backers that they are petitioning  to put the measure on the ballot shouldn’t get bogged down in the old questions of which forms of the Pill this amendment would ban. It’s well-known to Coloradans that common forms of birth control would be banned.

The focus for reporters should be the politics of having a personhood measure on the ballot in 2012, in a swing state like Colorado.

So I attended today’s news conference announcing the personhood petition drive to make sure these issues were raised by reporters, and since they were not, I filled in the journalistic gap.

I asked Kristi Brown, who’s changed her name from Kristi Burton since she sponsored the first personhood amendment with her father in 2008, if she expected to get the same support from major candidates that her measure had gotten previously.

Kristi Brown announces effort to put personhood on 2012 ballot

I mean, you can argue that without a Republican primary, GOP candidates like Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner might not endorse the 2012 measure, given its apparent unpopularity with voters, especially women.

“I haven’t personally talked to [Coffman and Gardner],” Brown told me.

“I know Cory Gardner is very conservative, has really good stands. I talked to him on the 2008 amendment. He was very, very supportive. He was one of our main supporters. So I would guess that he would.”

When she says a main supporter what does she mean?

“Very supportive,” she said. “He would come to events for us. He talked about it.”

Here’s Gardner at one personhood event.

Colorado Right to Life’s website lists Mike Coffman as a supporter of personhood 2010 as well, with the statement: “Incumbent Republican Mike Coffman is on record supporting Personhood and is on record as Pro-Life with no exceptions. However, he does not appear to have co-sponsored the Personhood legislation introduced in Congress. We hope that he would vote to support such legislation if he had the opportunity, as he has pledged.”

I asked Gualberto GarciaJones, who wrote this year’s amendment, which has more expansive and precise language than last year’s, if he thought presidential candidate Mitt Romney would support his amendment this time, given that he’s changed his position over the years. Garcia Jones said Romney is known as a flip flopper and that his group would persevere regardless of the positions of Democratic or Republican politicians. (No major Democrats support the effort, as far as I know, but Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich back personhood, and it’s endorsed in a plank of the national GOP platform.

Asked if he thought he’d get Gardner on board for personhood this time, former gubernatorial candidate and “Generations Radio” host Kevin Swanson, said, “I think so,” adding that he hopes to get Democrats as well. (In his prepared remarks, Swanson repeated his view that said Dr. Suess summed up the amendment best when he wrote, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”)

“I think it’s real possible we could get some strong Republican support,” but he said he hadn’t been in touch with Tipton or Gardner.

In response to the personhood petition drive, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ President Vicki Cowart said in a statement: “Colorado voters spoke loud and clear in the 2008 and 2010 elections when they voted down the so called “personhood” amendments by a 3-to-1 margin each time. No means no, yet Personhood USA and Personhood Colorado continue to ignore the wishes of Colorado voters. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains will for the third time since 2008, work with our over 90 coalition partners to educate Colorado voters about this initiative which aims to ban abortion in all circumstances.”Historically, Colorado has been a state that votes in favor of trusting women and doctors. At the end of the day, Coloradans trust women to make personal, private decisions about their own body with their doctor, their family, their faith and without interference from the courts or lawyers.”

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