Archive for the 'Colorado Personhood Initiatives' Category

Media omission: In August, Gardner campaign said it backed personhood proposals to ban abortion, not as statement of principle

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

UPDATE Oct. 13, 2014: In response to a follow-up question yesterday, Robertson emailed me that the Gardner campaign did not seek a correction or clarification of an August Factcheck.org story, even though the piece makes it appear as if Gardner supported a federal personhood law as a means to ban abortion. Robertson wrote:

“I didn’t specifically ask about the federal bill – again, at the time, he and the campaign weren’t saying that the federal bill wasn’t a personhood measure. I asked about past personhood proposals, in general. I then asked a separate question about whether he was still supporting the federal bill, and the answer was that he was and that, as we say in the article, the federal bill would make ‘no change to contraception laws.’

The campaign did not seek a correction or contact us at all after the article ran.

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Before his recent false claims that federal personhood legislation “simply” is a toothless statement of his belief in “life,” Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s campaign told Factcheck.org that the candidate backed personhood proposals in order to ban abortion.

Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner is now saying, incorrectly, that the federal personhood legislation he cosponsored in Congress is “simply a statement that I believe in life.”

But his campaign told FactCheck.org in August that Gardner backed both state and federal “personhood” measures in an effort to ban abortion, not as a statement of principle.

Factcheck.org’s Lori Robertson reported Aug. 15 that “Gardner’s campaign says he backed the proposals as a means to ban abortion, not contraception.”

Robertson reported:

Gardner is on record since 2006 supporting so-called personhood measures at the state and federal level. These bills and ballot initiatives generally said the rights afforded to a person would begin at the moment a human egg is fertilized. The federal bill would impact the definition of a person under the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, while the state measure would obviously affect only Colorado law.

Gardner’s campaign says he backed the proposals as a means to ban abortion, not contraception. But, as we’ll explain, the wording of these measures could be interpreted to mean hormonal forms of birth control, including the pill and intrauterine devices, would be outlawed. Other non-hormonal forms, such as condoms, wouldn’t be affected, but oral contraception (the pill) is the most popular form of birth control among U.S. women.

In response to an email asking whether the “proposals” cited in her reporting included federal as well as state personhood measures, Robertson wrote, “Yes, it was a general question, whether he supported past personhood proposals as a means to ban abortion, and the campaign’s answer was yes.”

Robinson noted that “this was of course before the recent interviews in which Rep. Gardner has said the federal bill isn’t a personhood measure.”

So before Gardner said the federal personhood bill is “simply a statement” with no legislative teeth, his campaign stated that the candidate had backed past personhood measures in an effort to ban abortion.

The Gardner campaign’s response to Factcheck.org appears to be the closest thing to a factual statement about the Life at Conception Act that Gardner and his spokespeople have provided to reporters during his senatorial election campaign. The proposed law would actually ban not only abortion but common forms of birth control.

When the Gardner campaign uses the word “abortion,” it may actually be referring to birth control as well. If Gardner, like Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, believes that IUDs cause abortions, then Gardner’s aim to use the federal personhood bill as a means to ban “abortion” would include a ban on birth control methods, such as IUDs or Plan B, which Gardner opposed as a Colorado State legislator.

Gardner’s office did not return an email seeking clarification on this matter and others.

There is evidence that Gardner, like Beauprez, believes Plan B and other forms of birth control cause “abortioins.” Gardner voted against the 2009 Birth Control Protection Act, which defined “contraception,” without exceptions, as a device to protect against pregnancy, defined as beginning after implantation of the zygote in the uterine wall.

The Senate sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, Sen. Rand Paul Kentucky, who’s scheduled to visit Denver for a conference later this month, argues that his legislation will result in the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Media omission: This year’s personhood amendment targets pregnant woman unlike any existing law in CO and nationally

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Opponents of Colorado’s latest Personhood initiative, Amendment 67, claim, in media reports, that their measure isn’t about banning abortion.

Multiple reporters have pushed back, pointing out that the Personhood-USA-backed initiative is actually another iteration of failed personhood amendments, aimed at outlawing all abortion and common forms of birth control.

But local reporting hasn’t explained in sufficient detail that this year’s amendment is unique not only in Colorado but nationally in subjecting pregnant women to harassment and prosecution from law enforcement officials.

Under Amendment 67, pregnant women could face arrest for everything from choosing abortion to driving without wearing a seat belt, as explained to me by Lynn Paltrow, director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, who was in Colorado last month to campaign against Amendment 67.

Paltrow presented a series of slides during a presentation with the text of common criminal statutes in Colorado: murder, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment.

She replaced the words “person” or “child” with “unborn human being.”

For example, you commit murder in Colorado if you intend “to cause the death of another person.” If “person” becomes “unborn child,” then abortion becomes murder, Paltrow said.

Paltrow showed a slide of Colorado’s child abuse statute, inserted “unborn human being” into the statute’s wording, and explained how the law, as changed under Amendment 67, could be used to investigate, prosecute, and arrest a pregnant women believed to have put her “unborn child” at risk.

“What they are asking the citizens of Colorado to do is put in place a set of laws that begins by saying, ‘We believe a woman who has an abortion is guilty of first degree murder and deserves either life in prison or the death penalty.’ There are no exceptions.”

“Anything that a woman does that someone later believes she shouldn’t have done becomes evidence of recklessness,” she continued. “Standing on a ladder. Painting your nursery at six-months pregnant and falling off. Skiing while pregnant. Driving without wearing a seat belt. Not obeying a doctor’s advice to get bed rest. Child abuse becomes fertilized-egg abuse.”

Paltrow, who goes into more detail about Amendment 67 here, says she sympathizes with Heather Surovic, a proponent of the measure, who was eight-months pregnant when a drunk driver slammed into her car. She lost her unborn child, which she’d named “Brady.”

“The irony is, if this amendment in Brady’s memory succeeded, what Brady’s memory would really be doing is creating a law that could have had his mother arrested even if she’d done absolutely nothing wrong or reckless,” said Paltrow, citing a New York case in which a pregnant woman was convicted of manslaughter of her own child after being in a car accident. “What the Brady Amendment would do is make mothers absolutely vulnerable to arrest themselves.”

Eight reasons why a Denver Post reporter’s blog post, deleted by his editor, was newsworthy and should be re-posted on The Denver Post’s website

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

CORRECTION: This post describes the piece scrubbed by The Post as a “blog post.” It was actually  an article planned for the print edition.
——————

Here are eight reasons why Denver Post reporter Kurtis Lee’s blog post, quoting Rep. Mike Coffman about personhood and abortion-for-rape-and-incest, was newsworthy and should not have been deleted from The Post’s website.

1.  It was news! The core of Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett’s written explanation for scrubbing the piece is that it was basically old news. But Lee’s piece advanced our understanding of Coffman’s thinking both on the personhood amendment (he opposes it under any circumstances; see number four below.) and on abortion-for-rape-and-incest (he supports it beyond he previous narrow support of it in a specific piece of legislation; see number three.)

2.  It was the first time Coffman made a public statement himself about un-endorsing the personhood amendment and withdrawing his longstanding opposition to abortion-for-rape-and-incest. These are major flips, and journalism is all about providing a record of actual statements by public officials, not their mouthpieces.

3. Lee’s deleted piece, for the first time, informed the public that Coffman has completely changed a long-held position and now broadly favors allowing a woman raped by her father to have an abortion.  Last year, as Lee noted in his piece, Coffman supported a provision in a bill allowing abortion for rape and incest. But this anti-choice bill focused narrowly on banning abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, and no news outlets covered Coffman’s position. It was completely unknown, until Lee asked Coffman about it, if Coffman favors broad rape-and-incest exceptions to his overall extreme opposition to abortion. It turns out his flip was complete. So Lee’s headline for his post reflected actual news: “Mike Coffman adjusts abortion stance in cases of rape and incest.”

4. Lee’s deleted piece reported, for the first time, that Coffman is opposed to any version of the personhood amendment, even of it were narrowed. In his deleted piece. Lee reported that “Coffman said there is no language he would change in the ballot initiative that would make him support it.” This advances Lee’s March 25 story, which quoted Coffman’s spokesperson, Tyler Sandberg, as saying only that Coffman did not support the personhood amendment in 2012 or this year, and the matter is settled because voters rejected it (not that Coffman’s thinking had changed).

5. Coffman has been avoiding abortion issues for years, and so any elaboration on his near silence takes on added value and newsworthiness. During the last election, the only substantive statement Coffman made on abortion that I can find was this comment to The Post: “I am against all abortions, except when it is necessary to protect the life of the mother. Given the fact I’m running for federal office, I will not be endorsing nor opposing any state or local ballot questions.” Frustrated by the lack of media coverage in 2012, I asked him about abortion for rape and incest, and Coffman replied with his pat, “I’m not focused on social issues.” This is what he would also say in debates that year, and reporters didn’t insist that he elaborate.

6. Lee’s direct interview with Coffman, which Lee described as “brief,” might inspire other journalists, who manage to snag Coffman for a longer interview, to go deeper and find out more details about Coffman’s abortion stance, like what is it? Does he support Roe v. Wade? Why did Coffman flip on these deeply and long-held positions? Does he support the personhood concept but not the amendment? What was the evolution of Coffman’s thinking?

7. Lee’s article made The Post look good. I know other media figures in town have been trying to ask Coffman more about his personhood stance, since his spokesperson was interviewed by Lee on March 25, and Coffman has not made himself available. Lee showed enterprise by tracking down Coffman at the Republican assembly and asking him substantive questions about these serious issues. That kind of reporting earns The Post respect and subscriptions.

8. With dwindling staff and resources, the newsworthiness of an accurate and informative news story, once it’s been written, is greater than it used to be. In other words, the old newspaper adage that “the greatness of a newspaper can be judged by the stories that don’t see the light of day” is sadly part of a bygone era. The piece was not only written but already on the website! Why delete an accurate news story?

And finally, a reason why the story is even more newsworthy today than when Lee originally wrote it: Now that Plunkett has deleted the piece, a much larger number of people are curious about it. This adds to its news value. Not a ton, I know, but reader interest is a consideration of newsworthiness.

Obviously, Plunkett didn’t rob Kurtis Lee of a Pulitzer by deleting his blog post from The Post’s website. It wasn’t an earth-shattering piece, but it advanced, in its small way, an issue that’s important to a lot of real people as well as political elites.

Plunkett should re-post Lee’s piece immediately.

Would a more tightly-worded personhood amendment be ok with Coffman? And other questions left hanging after Coffman’s personhood shift

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Media outlets are reporting that Rep. Mike Coffman has joined  Rep. Cory Gardner in withdrawing his support of the personhood amendment, which would ban all abortion, but, strangely, reporters aren’t asking Coffman (or Gardner) the logical follow-up question: What is your position on abortion?

Does Coffman still oppose abortion, even in the case of rape and incest? If he still believes life begins at conception, does he still think the government should somehow protect human “life” from fertilized-egg onwards? Does he think women should be given the power to make this choice for themselves, if they are pregnant? Does he oppose still Roe V. Wade? Does he believe a woman has the right to make all decisions about her own body?

Coffman himself has yet to make a statement about his alleged reversal on personhood, leaving the dirty work to his spokesperson, but Coffman’s record, even if you exclude his support for personhood, clearly reflects a true believer’s opposition to abortion

For example, Coffman once wrote the following letter to then KHOW radio-host Dan Caplis, to clear up any possible confusion about his opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape and incest:

Dan,

First of all, thanks so much for your help with my campaign and for inviting me on your show. During the debate, Craig Silverman was questioning me on the issue of abortion. My response was focused on arguing that Roe v Wade was bad law. During that exchange, Craig asked me about the issue of rape and incest. Apparently, my answer came across as supporting abortions under a rape and incest exception. I absolutely do not believe in that.

Dan, I would deeply appreciate it if, during your show, you could state that I wanted to make sure that my position was clear, unequivocally, that I oppose abortion in all cases of rape and incest. I believe that all life is equally sacred irregardless of how it came into being.

Thanks again,

Mike Coffman

Asked about this later, Caplis emailed me he wasn’t surprised that Coffman went out of his way to be clear that he was against abortion in the case of rape and incest. “Mike has always been such a champion of the pro-life cause that I think the issue was quickly resolved,” Caplis wrote.

In a statement after the last election, Personhood USA celebrated Coffman’s “100%” anti-choice stand, and the organization held him up as proof that a politician can hold be stridently anti-abortion and still win close elections. A local personhood leader called Coffman a “statesman.”

With this kind of paper trail hanging over your shoulder, it’s no surprise that Coffman’s spokesman has offered different explanations to The Denver Post and Denver’s Fox 31 for Coffman’s personhood shift, telling The Post Coffman wouldn’t support the personhood amendment this year and offering this to Denver’s Fox 31:

“There’s a reason Democratic Senator Michael Bennet called Speaker Romanoff’s attacks sleazy in 2010 – Romanoff is the Czar of sleaze,” said Tyler Sandberg, Coffman’s campaign manager. “‘Supported it at every turn?’ Mike didn’t in 2012. And he doesn’t in 2014.

“The voters have spoken twice, and the question is settled.  The initiative is over-broad and full of unintended consequences, sort of like Obamacare, which let’s be honest, all of this sleaze from Romanoff is meant to be a distraction from.”

You read this and you think again, what does Coffman really think, and what’s the explanation?

Maybe Coffman would like a more tightly-worded personhood amendment, and he’d be ok with it? That’s another question reporters should put to him.

Candidates should face “personhood” questions from journalists in 2014, as another amendment heads to ballot

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Activists led by Personhood USA yesterday submitted over 50,000 more signatures than the 86,000 required to make the 2014 election ballot, making it likely voters will cast ballots next year on a measure that would add “unborn human beings” to the definition of a “person” and “child” in Colorado’s criminal code.

Backers and opponents of the measure disagree on whether it would affect abortion rights, but the fact is that supporters of the amendment, including its designated representative and a spokesperson for Colorado Right to Life, have referred to it as “personhood.”

So this means it’s likely that political candidates will face questions next year about their views on the personhood concept, under which all abortion would be banned, even for rape and incest, as well as common forms of birth control.

In 2010, the last time a personhood amendment was on the Colorado ballot, all Republican candidates for Governor and Senate supported the measure.

This year, most top-line Republican candidates are on record supporting personhood (See below), while no Democrat has done so publicly. The Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus has sought comments from this year’s crop of candidates, but he’s faced some resistance.

Coverage of the yesterday’s signature submission, including informative pieces by CBS4′s Shaun Boyd and the Colorado Independent’s John Tomasic, didn’t provided a tally of personhood support among top candidates. So I will supply it below:

Governor

State Sen. Greg Brophy endorsed personhood in 2008 telling 7News at the time, “Clearly it’’s always the right time to take the stand for the sanctity of life.” Colorado Right to Life writes on its blog that Brophy “supports personhood” and is “pro-life with no exceptions.”

Secretary of State Scott Gessler is apparently not on record on personhood.

Former lawmaker Mike Kopp “supports personhood” and is “pro-life with no exceptions,” according to the Colorado Right to Life blog.

Former Rep. Tancredo supports personhood.

U.S. Senate

Sen. Randy Baumgardner is “100% pro-life with no exceptions” and “supports personhood,” according to the 2012 Colorado Right to Life blog.

Weld Country DA Ken Buck withdrew his support for the personhood amendment in 2010, but stood behind is position against abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest.

Sen. Owen Hill is “pro-life” and “supports personhood” according to CRTL in 2012.

U.S. House

Rep. Mike Coffman is listed by CRTL as a personhood supporter, and he has been held up by Personhood USA as a model personhood-supporting candidate. He’s against abortion for rape and incest.

Rep. Cory Gardner supports personhood.

Rep. Doug Lamborn supports personhood.

Rep. Scott Tipton is not on record as a personhood supporter.

 

When a political operative says an issue is a “distraction,” it’s a cue for media figures to start asking questions

Friday, August 30th, 2013

For a reporter, or even a talk-radio host, when a political operative says something is a “distraction,” then that’s the exact moment to start asking questions.

So Laura Carno, whose organization has raised over $50,000 to recall state Sen. John Morse, invites scrutiny when she says on KFKA’s Amy Oliver Show Aug. 27 (hour two @20:25):

Carno: It’s just been this series of distractions, with the Planned Parenthood mail pieces being the latest distraction. This isn’t about abortion. Supreme Court Justices are not decided in Denver. There’s nothing that’s going to happen here that’s going to harm women. And as a woman…stop trying to manipulate women by saying in 2013 all of these terrible things are going to happen, and they are just not going to.

As I’ve discussed a couple times recently, abortion issues are not a distraction in state politics. Ask a woman just across the CO border in Utah (and 11 other states), if she thinks it’s a pesky distraction to be required, before she can obtain an abortion, to get counseling on the ability of a fetus to feel pain. Read about distractive state abortion laws here and proposed laws in Colorado here.

Carno herself helps run the Colorado Women’s Alliance, whose mission includes supporting “research, education and advocacy in areas of concern to women voters.” Since when is reproductive health, including abortion, not a concern to women?

Still, Carno feels so strongly about eliminating the abortion distraction from the CO Springs recall election that she and KVOR talk-show host Jeff Crank are pressuring CO Springs TV stations to stop running ads stating, accurately, that Republican recall candidate Bernie Herpin supports the personhood “plan” to codify life as beginning at conception and thus outlawing all abortion and common forms of birth control.

One TV station manager has declined to withdraw the ads, and the others aren’t responding, suggesting they agree that the ads are factual.

But this hasn’t stopped lawyers associated with Carno from shooting off an Aug. 27 letter, obtained by your humble blogger today, threatening to sue in an apparent attempt to scare broadcasters and Herpin opponents into stopping a radio ad:

Carno-associated lawyer: “I can quickly draft an injunction complaint based on the false ads…. I can have a lawsuit drafted and served by the close of business today. Your measure of damages is probably on the order of several times the cost to run the ads in order to educate the viewers on the truth.”

Carno implied that KFKA’s Oliver agrees with her that abortion issues are a distraction in the recall election. Regardless, Oliver owes it to women–and the rest of us–to air out why it’s not a legitimate topic to discuss.

Talk-show host fails to prove that Herpin doesn’t support personhood

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

KVOR talk-show host Jeff Crank said on-air Saturday that it’s impossible for GOP recall candidate Bernie Herpin to favor personhood, as claimed in a TV advertisement by Herpin’s opponents.

Crank raises his voice on his Jeff Crank Show as he explains why, citing evidence provided by the folks who made the anti-Herpin TV ad.

Crank: In the Pike’s Peak Citizens for Life survey, Mr. Herpin indicates that he believes that life begins at the moment of conception.  In the same Pike’s Peak Citizens for Life survey, Mr. Herpin was asked if he supported a ban on embryonic stem cell research, and he marked ‘no’.  Mr. Herpin’s opposition to a ban on embryonic stem cell research is in direct conflict to the claim that he supports the personhood amendment.  He doesn’t support it, okay?

Sorry, Jeff, but Pikes Peak Citizens for Life actually asked Herpin, “Will you lead federal and/or state efforts to ban embryonic stem cell research.” Herpin answered no.

You’d still expect Herpin to favor a ban embryonic stem-cell research, even if he wouldn’t lead a fight against it, given Herpin’s belief, as stated on the Pikes Peak questionnaire that the stage of development that “we become persons” is “single cell.”

Herpin’s concept of personhood is also consistent with his statements in the survey that the court, in Roe v Wade, did not have the authority to “declare the pre-born as non-persons” and he would not appoint anyone who supports Roe.

Add to this Herpin’s agreement with the statement in the Pikes Peak survey, fashioned by an outfit that endorsed the personhood amendment in 2010, that the government does “not have the authority to declare any part of the human family to be non-persons,” and you have to conclude that Herpin supports personhood.

Maybe he’s changing his mind now, as Ken Buck and others have done before him, but it’s reasonable to say Herpin’s answers to the questionnaire show support for giving legal status to zygotes (fertilized eggs), thus, as the anti-Herpin ad points out, banning common forms birth control and interfering with many personal decisions.

(See survey questions here and Herpin’s answers here.)

Given the evidence, Crank should stop asking his listeners to pester Colorado Springs TV stations to stop running the anti-Herpin ads, as he did on Saturday, and he should stop promoting his own complaint trying to get TV stations to do so. Already, Tim Larson, general manager of KRDO TV has reportedly decided to keep running the ad, apparently sharing my view that it’s factual.

 

 

No doubt, it’s “personhood” again in a different package

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Reporters covering the signature-gathering campaign for the so-called Brady amendment, which would change the definition of “person” and “child” under Colorado law to include “unborn human beings,” might wonder whether to call it “personhood” initiative.

Apparently, anti-abortion activists have had the same question, prompting Gualberto Garcia Jones, who’s listed on the CO Secretary of State’s website as a “designated representative” of the initiative, to send an email July 24 to supporters clarifying the issue:

Some of our supporters have asked whether the Brady Amendment is a personhood amendment. The answer is yes! A personhood measure is any proposal that constitutionally seeks to recognize (without exceptions) that unborn babies are persons deserving of our love and protection by law….

One need look no further than the section of the Colorado law that deals with homicide to see how central the concept of personhood is: the homicide section is appropriately titled “Offenses Against the Person.” The Brady Amendment recognizes that all human beings, not just those who are born, are persons and amends the criminal code to that effect! …

Whether it is a drunk driver who avoids facing any charges for the death of a baby that is just days from birth, or a hospital that avoids malpractice liability for the death of unborn babies in its care, or an abortionist who kills children in the womb for a living, the fact is that all three rely on the same reasoning: the baby in the womb is not a person and therefore his or her life has no value in the eyes of the law.

[Read Garcia Jones' entire email at the end of this blog post.]

But in contrast to Jones’ email and Colorado Right to Life’s recent comment in the Colorado Statesman, the official website of the initiative’s backers doesn’t mention “personhood” at all. It frames the initiative as a way to protect “pregnant mothers and their unborn children from criminal offenses and negligent and wrongful acts.”

In the FAQ section of its website, called “A Voice for Brady,” the initiative’s backers state:

“The Brady Amendment is not about politics, it is an amendment that will protect pregnant mothers and their unborn babies from violent and dangerous criminals.”

To make matters more confusing, the name backers have chosen for their initiative, the “Brady Amendment,” refers to an unborn child killed by a drunk driver in Longmont. Prosecutors couldn’t press charges of vehicular homicide because the mother, Heather Surovik, survived, and Colorado law did not allow prosecution for reckless acts against Brady, her an unborn baby.

All this might lead reporters to label the Brady Amendment a “fetal-homicide” initiative, designed simply to allow prosecution in cases like Surovik’s.

But a 2013 law now enables prosecutors to charge a drunk driver who terminates a pregnancy, like the driver who slammed into Heather Surovik. A GOP-backed bill, mirroring the initiative, died in Committee.

And even if there were no such law, the intent of the initiative, as Garcia Jones wrote, is broader. The initiative would change the definition of “person” and “child” to “unborn human beings.” This change would be mandated not just in the Colorado Wrongful Death Act but in the entire Colorado Criminal Code.

The vague phrase “unborn human beings” would be left to the interpretation of a judge. Opponents have pointed out that a judge could rule that all stages of human biological development, from conception on, should be considered “unborn human beings,” thus making personhood the law of the land in Colorado and banning all abortion, even in the case of rape and incest, as well as common forms of birth control.

I asked Jones, who’s also legal analyst with Personhood USA, via email, why his website doesn’t mention “personhood.”

Jones: Not calling the Brady Amendment the Personhood Amendment is not about running away from Personhood, it is about honoring the short life of Brady Surovik.

Heather and Brady’s story stands on its own and it is a powerful real-life example of what happens when the preborn are not considered persons.

Planned Parenthood is in trouble and they know it, they can talk about fertilized eggs all day long, but they can’t answer the simple question: was Brady Surovik, a baby only days from being born a person with basic rights?…

Obviously, Planned Parenthood understands that if a child in the womb like Brady is recognized as a person then the logic behind the lucrative abortion industry is severely shaken.

I asked Monica McCafferty, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, to comment on Jones’ email describing the Brady Amendment as “personhood.” I also asked her to respond to Jones’ view that Brady Surovik was a person.

McCafferty: Questions about when life begins are personal. For some, it’s based on faith, for others it’s a matter of science or medicine. But this isn’t a question that belongs in the state constitution.

From a policy standpoint, the majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade. Yet what we also know based on polls conducted by our national office, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is that most voters don’t identify with the terms ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life.’ It’s a complicated topic and one in which labels don’t reflect the complexity.

What most Americans get behind is the ability for women to make their own decisions about pregnancy, and that politicians do not. This sentiment rings true for Colorado voters and in relation to the past three ‘personhood’ attempts, all of which have failed.

Whether you agree with Jones or McCafferty, the scope of the debate about Jones’ initiative clearly goes beyond reckless acts of violence against pregnant women.

Both sides agree that what’s on the table is a personhood measure, aiming to ban all abortion, and reporters should describe it as such.

——

Jones’ July 24 email to Personhood USA and Brady Amendment backers:

Some of our supporters have asked whether the Brady Amendment is a personhood amendment. The answer is yes! A personhood measure is any proposal that constitutionally seeks to recognize (without exceptions) that unborn babies are persons deserving of our love and protection by law.

In the infamous 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that:

If this suggestion of personhood is established, the case for abortion, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed.

One need look no further than the section of the Colorado law that deals with homicide to see how central the concept of personhood is: the homicide section is appropriately titled “Offenses Against the Person.” The Brady Amendment recognizes that all human beings, not just those who are born, are persons and amends the criminal code to that effect!

The language from the Brady Amendment that makes it a Personhood measure is the following:

Section 2.  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.

Whether it is a drunk driver who avoids facing any charges for the death of a baby that is just days from birth, or a hospital that avoids malpractice liability for the death of unborn babies in its care, or an abortionist who kills children in the womb for a living, the fact is that all three rely on the same reasoning: the baby in the womb is not a person and therefore his or her life has no value in the eyes of the law.

The Brady Amendment has the potential to personalize the struggle to recognize the right to life, just like Emmet Till did for the civil rights movement. In honoring Brady with the hard task of collecting signatures, we honor the millions we have lost and we honor God.

In 2008 and 2010, hundreds of thousands of Colorado voters signed petitions to try to pass amendments to the Colorado constitution that would recognize the due process and equal protection rights of the unborn.

The abortion industry (with the willing cooperation of the media) characterized the personhood amendments as extreme, the product of a fringe group of people intent on giving rights to “fertilized eggs.” But Brady Surovik was 8 pounds and 2 ounces when on July 5, 2012 a drunk driver ended his life in Longmont, Colorado. At the time, several thousand pro-life volunteers were collecting signatures for the 2012 Personhood Amendment. Brady’s family collected signatures for personhood at Brady’s funeral.

Shortly after the drunk driver ended the life of Brady Surovik, Boulder District Attorney, Stan Garnett, stated that the drunk driver would not be charged with homicide because under Colorado law unborn babies like Brady are not considered persons. The Brady Amendment, while honoring the memory of Brady Surovik, would apply to all human beings who have been deprived of their personhood.

If the Brady Amendment passes in November 2014, it will be the greatest victory for the personhood of the unborn in the last 40 years. That’s why we need your help to be a voice for Brady.

For life,

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

Director, Personhood Education

 

 

Will reporters accept silence from candidates on Brady Amendment

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus provides an excellent update today on a personhood-backed ballot initiative aiming to change the definition of “’person’ and ‘child’” under Colorado law to include “unborn human beings.”

Signatures for the fetal-homicide measure, criticized by pro-choice activists as a backdoor abortion ban, are due by Sept. 30.

But the question still hanging out there is how Republicans, who favor the personhood position against abortion, even in the case of rape and incest, are going to deal with the latest infant-mortality measure, which is at a minimum a step toward such a ban.

Will reporters let candidates brush it off, as Coffman did in 2012, saying it’s not their focus, even though Coffman was later held up as the poster-child for Personhood USA?

Marcus couldn’t get answers from top 2014 candidates about the so-called Brady Amendment, but he provided this useful roundup on some past positions on abortion and personhood.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, last year said he would not endorse the initiative, despite his pro-life stance and past support for the effort. And former Seventh Congressional District candidate Joe Coors also would not endorse the initiative last year, despite past support.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck also found trouble in 2010 when he ran against Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Buck softened his stance on personhood after Bennet attacked Buck for his position. Buck’s campaign later backtracked, saying he would not vote for personhood. Buck on Wednesday filed paperwork to run for U.S. Senate again in 2014 against Democratic incumbent Mark Udall….

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Republican who is running for governor in 2014, declined comment until Hickenlooper publically speaks out on abortion. Tancredo points out that OnTheIssues.org does not have a recorded stance for Hickenlooper on abortion.

State Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray, who is also seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for governor, did not return a request for comment left by The Statesman.

The positions of candidates on both sides of the aisle regarding the Brady Amendment might be influenced by the stance of the Denver Archdiocese, which, as the Statesman reports, has previously opposed personhood measures but has signaled support for fetal-homicide laws.

Media omission: Western Conservative Summit spotlights the face of the anti-abortion movement that’s rocked Colorado politics

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

If you want to see the faces of the people who support the uncompromising anti-abortion positions of politicians like Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, Rep. Mike Coffman, and Sen. Rick Santorum (who won the 2011 Republican presidential caucus in Colorado), stroll around the Western Conservative Summit, held this weekend in downtown Denver.

“Folks, you can sign a pro-life petition here!” Susan Sutherland, petition coordinator for a Personhood USA-backed campaign to put a fetal-homicide bill on the 2014 CO election ballot, told Summit attendees as they swarmed through the exhibit room Saturday morning.

”Quick signature to recognize an unborn baby as a person under Colorado law,” she said.

“Most of the people here are very agreeable,” Sutherland told me. “It beats being on the streets, and we do a lot of events.”

Most Summit attendees are eager to help, she said, but “a lot of people who come by [our table] say they’ve already signed the petition at church or at another event.” Sutherland added that it’s an issue these people care a lot about and do something about it.

By noon Saturday, Sutherland and her fellow activists got hundreds of signatures on their petition and handed out dozens of petitions for people to take home.

Called the Brady Amendment, after an unborn child killed by a drunk driver, Sutherland’s initiative aims to change the definition of “person” under Colorado law to include “unborn human beings.” This would enable law enforcement officials to bring charges, for example, against a drunk driver who recklessly hits a pregnant woman and ends her pregnancy.

A Colorado law passed this year does exactly this, but the Personhood-backed initiative would go further, likely giving broader legal status to fetuses at the earliest stages of human development.

The phrase “unborn baby” isn’t defined in the language of the initiative. The vague wording has led Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains to conclude that the effort is a “back door” effort to codify human life as beginning at conception , thus banning all abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest.

Sutherland, whose personhood movement has arguably had a greater impact on Colorado politics than any other single issue, told me her signature-gathering campaign is “very much on schedule,” compared to past personhood signature-gathering efforts, to turn in the required signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office by the end of September. They’re asking activists to return petition forms by Sept. 7.

“It is so grassroots,” Sutherland said. “We have thousands of petitions out throughout the state. The petitions flood in during the last two weeks. We’ll be doing a lot of scrambling.”