Colorado Initiative #36. Remember that number. Remember that number as a catalyst for not only trying to take away women’s rights, but for restrictions on birth control, and the can of worms it will open in 2008. The initiative calls for changing the definition of ‘person’ in the Colorado Constitution to include any human being from the moment of fertilization; giving fertilized eggs specific rights. There are certainly a number of problems with the initiative itself, including its wording, intentions and repercussions. For the Colorado Supreme Court to allow this initiative to continue is a disaster waiting to happen.
The initiative states, “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution defining the term ‘person’ to include any human being from the moment of fertilization as ‘person’ is used in those provisions of the Colorado constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law?” It is a sad day when the Colorado Court cannot decipher that the initiative clearly has three separate subjects and that Colorado for Equal Rights co-founders Kristine Burton and Mark Meuser, who proposed the initiative, have violated the single subject requirement of the Colorado Constitution.
One certainly would not categorize inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law under the same Constitutional section; they are clearly very different rights. Burton and Meuser argue that because all three of these rights deal with “persons” the initiative does not violate the single subject requirement; ergo there should be one bill as opposed to three separate bills. If Burton and Meuser were so passionate about this cause of fertilized egg rights, they should take the time to defend the three rights separately. Rather, they choose to argue the rights as a whole because all three work together nicely in claiming abortion is illegal. Which they will undoubtly use later to further chip away at women’s rights.
Burton and Meuser have stated that their intent is to just establish a constitutional principle, and that any laws or legislation that come from it are hypothetical. Yet, Burton has made it clear that her mission in life is to make abortion illegal, specifically in the state of Colorado. Doesn’t anyone else think it’s a coincidence that she would be proposing a bill to give fertilized eggs rights? Claiming that this bill would have no effect on abortion rights is ridiculous. In fact, this initiative would have a direct correlation to many reproductive rights.
Kathryn Wittneben, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, said, “The impact of this initiative will extend far beyond the legality of abortion. If fertilized eggs have the legal right to access Colorado’s courts – which is one of the rights that would be granted by this initiative – what does this really mean for Coloradans?” She mentions that if this initiative moves forward, fertilized eggs can petition courts to make it illegal to use effective forms of birth control, and sue pregnant women if they miscarry.
Just imagine the circus of lawsuits waiting to happen in 2008! And who will be the defender of these eggs? Our guess is a right-wing fanatic who is committed to taking away women’s rights, one fertilized egg at a time.