The Extreme, Hidden Agenda of ‘Personhood’

From afar, the logo for the so-called ‘fetal personhood’ amendment campaign in Colorado looks hand drawn — as if an activist spent all night painting a fully-formed baby, complete with fingers and toes, into the round of the number six. The proponents of Amendment 62, which would give full legal rights to a fertilized egg and thereby ban abortion in all cases, want to send the message that their supposedly innocuous ballot measure is a grassroots campaign of Coloradans who want to make a minor change to the state Constitution.

Deception as Strategy

Deception is the cornerstone of the so-called personhood movement. Far from being a state-based, grassroots effort concerned about the rights of zygotes, Colorado’s Amendment 62 is the latest effort from a national coalition of anti-abortion groups positioning to overturn Roe v. Wade and permanently establish the rights of fertilized eggs above those of living, breathing women.

If you’d like a preview of this no-Roe, personhood America, look no further than the far-reaching consequences of Amendment 62 in Colorado. The amendment’s sneaky wording — which imagines life beginning at the moment of ‘biological development,’ a term unrecognized by either health or legal professionals — would not only ban abortion, but also common forms of hormonal birth control and emergency contraception, even for rape survivors. Doctors have warned that the amendment would curb their ability to render emergency services to a woman until she’s given a pregnancy test for fear of being charged with murder if the treatment damaged a fertilized egg. They’ve also warned that it would halt in vitro fertilization and stem cell research.

Personhood Amendment Effort Not the First

This isn’t the first time personhood proponents have set their sights on the Centennial State, which they picked because the process of getting initiatives on the ballot is one of the easiest in the nation. (Also on the ballot in Colorado: financial Amendments 60 and 61 and Prop 101, which would strip education and state infrastructure of almost all tax revenue, Amendment 63, which would set the cash-starved state up for a lengthy court battle by barring implementation of the national health reform legislation, and also a Denver ballot measure that would establish a committee to prepare residents for encounters with extraterrestrial beings and their vehicles.) In 2008, a similar ‘personhood’ measure was defeated by a 3:1 margin. But the combination of a conservative political climate, likely lower voter turnout for the midterm election, and a flood of outside anti-abortion money and activists into the state, make the possibility of passage startlingly real.

Not the End Even if It Loses

Even if Amendment 62 is defeated on the Colorado ballot this year, Personhood USA, the extremist right-wing group behind the amendment, has vowed to bring it back year after year until it passes. Mississippi is set to vote on a similar ballot initiative in 2011 and anti-choice activists are at work preparing similar campaigns in Florida and Montana. Proponents of personhood have begun using race-baiting rhetoric to hide their real intentions, comparing the plight of the fetus to that of the Native American and the African American slave. One Colorado anti-abortion activist went so far as to claim using “the term fertilized egg, that’s the same thing as using the N word for an African American.”

No matter what messaging strategy they use, this much is clear: personhood initiatives are a thinly veiled attempt to control reproductive health decisions that should be between a woman, her family, and her doctor. They are an attempt to subvert religious freedom by inserting one particular religious viewpoint into the law. They are one of the most dangerous threats to women and their families in a generation and they must be stopped once and for all. If you live in Colorado, vote NO on Amendment 62 and tell your friends to do the same — it simply goes too far. If you’re not a Coloradoan, donate to the No On 62 campaign’s effort to defeat the amendment, sign up to make phone calls before the election, and look into what anti-choice initiatives are in the works in your state. No matter what your views on abortion, we must send the message loud and clear that women will not be made second-class citizens.

After all, is a woman who isn’t allowed to control her own body and life really a person? Or does that condition, by definition, make her the slave?


Shelby Knox


Allan Y.
.7 years ago

I am against abortion as a general rule- except in cases of rape. I was absolutely against Clinton's partial birth abortion policy. The sheer words sound like murder. When there is a heartbeat, there's life. That's my soapbox stand.

erica j.
erica J7 years ago

Ok, Past member, then please adopt & take care of every fertilized egg once it's born. Until u live everyone else's life, then u have no right 2 tell them what they can do when it directly involves THEIR body. U think only "loose" women get pregnant & have abortions? HA! Give me a flippin break! I can't take ANY form of hormonal birth control because the imbalance throws my whole entire body out of wack & causes allergic reactions. All I have to rely on is a condom which is far from 100%. Should I become pregnant, I would never personally have an abortion, but hey, someone n my shoes may not be ready 2 have a child. Are they to be punished when they did everything they could 2 not get pregnant? Don't assume that everyone's situation is exactly the same because it's NOT! And that is the reason why that decision should b left strictly up 2 the people involved. U have your views and that's fine, so if u become pregnant, then go ahead and have your child but don't try 2 force your views on everyone else when they may not agree with u. There has never been a definitive answer 2 when life begins. You may think you are right and someone else may think they are. And both of you would have the RIGHT to think and feel the way you do. But don't go around calling people murderers, when that clearly isn't the case in their mind. Abortion as birth control is not right. But I don't think it's fair to punish the rest who really do think about what they are doing and still go thro

Jennifer Martin
Jennifer M7 years ago

This is just ridiculous!!! Then I guess the girls that I know who have miscarried are murderers... These people are nut jobs trying to force their beliefs on everyone else. Get a life a-holes.

Deborah L.
Deborah L7 years ago

Nice to know that a fertilized egg, which may never embed into the uterine wall has more rights than the semen receptacle or baby factory, aka as a mother, which carries it to term. And don't forget that once it has been born, depending on gender of course, it is still a non-person if it is a female baby. A semi person if male but still and all once you are born, you cease to exist in the eyes of the law and the right to lifers and the radicals out there who place more value on a potential person than a real person. Otherwise we would never have wars to thin the herd down, and by doing it this way, they leave the unhealthiest of the human herd to reproduce, therefore making more unhealthy progeny. Is this a part of their Lack of Intelligent Design we hear about today?

When will it become law that is a woman miscarries, has a stillborn or defective forced to carry baby, she will be punished? Sort of reminds me of the book, "The Handmaids Tale."

Gary A.
Gary Addis7 years ago

Agreeing with Agnes, but taking it one logical step further. If a fertilized egg is to be considered a person, should a man 's ejaculate be considered 500,000 half persons? Should 13 year old boys be jailed when their wet dreams destroy potential life?

I'm sure laws against masturbation or any sex not intended to create a baby would tickle McDonnell pink.

PATRICIA D7 years ago

Jake Davis

When men can get pregnant you can have a say in the matter. If it affected you personally you would have an entirely different viewpoint.

Robert Gibbons
Robert G7 years ago

STUPID!!! So rape victims would have to have the criminals kid if these guys could pass their laws... brutal.

John Bauer
Past Member 7 years ago

So does this mean that if a woman has a miscarriage, that she has committed murder? This is stupid. These are the same pro-life people who are against all killing of babies but it is alright to kill abortion doctors, blow up facilities and even sent child molesters to the chair. Talk about heresy! Although, if the government has made a law making it illegal for women with crush videos to stomp and kill mice, snails and even snakes under their barefeet, anything with a similar intelligence should be protected as well. I think that rape victims should be allowed to get an abortion. I think that if a woman is injured and medical work could injure or kill the baby, I think the woman should be allowed to have the work done to her, primary and leave the baby as a second. However, if the baby, is at the point in its life where it has a brain, can breathe on its own and even kicks the mother, at that point it is no longer the mom's choice of her body as it is also a baby's life. If you are a mom do you have a right to kill your children?

Diane S.
Diane Simons7 years ago

I agree with past member that a deliberate abortion is not an acceptable routine method for birth control.
However, it is known that there are many reasons why some birth control can sometimes be less effective. An illness, taking some medication at the wrong time. Then there's rape - and that does not mean rape by a stranger only. Most rape is carried out by people the victim knows - often an abusive partner.
Surely a woman clinging to sanity in that situation can seek a morning after pill? Not if that bill is passed into law she's not.
Not everyone that becomes pregnant was being promiscuous or irresponsible.
The bill also means no experimentation would be allowed on fertilization or eggs after that point either. Again - that seems a step too far. I don;t know what experiments are planned, or what they could achieve. I just find it hard to believe that a fertilized egg is as aware as the thousands of freshly hatched male chicks that get ground alive in the factory farming every day.

James S.
James S7 years ago

. - You're wrong.

Past Member - bravo for most of that post....I would simply add victims of rape to the list of those who should remain eligible.