A proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution that would bestow legal rights on fertilized human eggs may be put on the ballot in 2008 — and if passed it could make abortion illegal in the state.
The one-paragraph measure would ask voters whether inalienable rights as defined in the state Constitution should be extended to “any human being from the moment of fertilization.”
Michael Norton, a lawyer working with supporters of the proposal, said “the whole issue centers on when does life begin.”
He told the New York Times that while the word “abortion” would not appear in the proposal, it would effectively make an abortion “the destruction of a person” and therefore illegal.
But Toni Panetta, deputy director of Naral Pro-Choice Colorado, warned that if the amendment becomes law, “all fertilized eggs could use the courts, and that lays the foundation for a potential onslaught.”
She asserted that the amendment would open up challenges to birth control, including oral contraception and intrauterine devices, which render the uterine wall inhospitable to the developing egg, the Times reported.
The proposal must clear several hurdles before it can be placed on the ballot for Election Day 2008. But it is sure to raise a heated debate over abortion in Colorado as the Democrats prepare to gather for their national convention in Denver.
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