Thursday, October 30, 2008
NPR reported yesterday that Colorado's ballot includes a measure that would amend the state constitution to define "personhood" as beginning at the moment of conception. The ballot language is here. (Colorado is the only one of several states where similar measures were proposed to gain enough signatures to put this on the ballot.)
If this should pass, the state constitutional amendment would raise serious federal constitutional questions, to say nothing of the many practical questions. From NPR's report:
Jessica Berg, a professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University, says the amendment could lead to some bizarre situations--such as counting fertilized eggs in the state census and pregnant drivers using the HOV lanes.
The measure has received some surprise opposition. The Colorado Catholic Conference opposes it, because it fears a backlash from the courts: Courts would strike down the measure and, in the process, reaffirm current abortion laws. Perhaps the Conference remembers the result of Colorado's last effort to curtail federal constitutional rights by state constitutional amendment: Romer v. Evans.