Statewide ‘personhood’ petition drive gets launched in Glenwood |

Statewide ‘personhood’ petition drive gets launched in Glenwood

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Buoyed by a recent court ruling, the Colorado Personhood Coalition launched a statewide petition drive for a “personhood” ballot initiative Wednesday in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic here.

About 20 members of the coalition gathered in support of the 2012 Colorado Personhood Amendment ballot initiative. Two more events will be held Thursday in front of Planned Parenthood offices in Colorado Springs and Denver.

For the third time in four years, organizers are hoping to convince Colorado voters to pass a constitutional amendment declaring that “personhood” begins at conception and granting human rights from the embryonic stage onward.

On March 5, the Colorado Supreme Court rejected an effort by Planned Parenthood to keep the “personhood” initiative off the ballot this November.

Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of Personhood USA and Personhood CO, said the organization already has distributed 10,000 petitions around the state, seeking 86,000 signatures by Aug. 6 in order to put the personhood question on the Nov. 6 ballot next fall.

Many of those on the sidewalk on Wednesday were from the Denver area, although a few locals joined them.

As cars drove by with horns honking, Glenwood Springs resident Joan Kavanaugh said, “I think abortion brings a curse upon all of us. So we’re pushing back this darkness. It’s a spiritual war.”

A mother of three, Kavanaugh said she has opposed abortion since the late 1970s, after giving birth to her first child.

“I’m not happy that this has landed in my neighborhood,” she said, pointing to the Glenwood Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, a free-standing building near the Glenwood Springs Mall.

Employees in the Planned Parenthood clinic declined to comment on the gathering and referred a reporter to the agency’s Denver office.

“We believe that to hold a press conference in front of our health center is tasteless, disrespectful to our patients, and unacceptable,” said Planned Parenthood communications officer Monica McCafferty.

She noted that similar anti-abortion initiatives were defeated by a 70-30 percent margin in 2008 and nearly that much in 2010.

She said those ballot questions were opposed by Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and by men and women.

The Colorado Personhood Coalition contends it has resolved some of the details in the ballot language that led to the two previous losses at the polls.

The proposed amendment, said Garcia Jones in a press release issued earlier Wednesday, “has been revised … to address voter’s concerns with the issues of contraception, miscarriage, in vitro fertilization and life-saving medical care.”

The coalition is seeking a constitutional amendment, he said, “to create a fundamental principle” that can then be turned into law by the state Legislature.

“It extends to a lot more than just abortion,” he said.

For instance, the treatment of embryos in research and fertility treatments, during which embryos can be destroyed, would be governed by this amendment.

He likened the proposed amendment to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to all Americans.

“Respect for life is the first thing to be considered,” Garcia Jones said.

Dan Kellogg of Glenwood Springs brought some of his 11 children to the gathering. Kellogg said he is “praying that abortion is ended for good in this country. I believe in free choice, but we’re talking about the life of a baby, and that baby has rights and should grow up to make choices of its own.”

The group on Wednesday also was working to spark interest in a bill currently before the Colorado General Assembly, House Bill 1130, sponsored by state Rep. Janak Joshi, R-El Paso County.

The bill would make it a class III felony to commit a violent crime against a woman that results in the death of an unborn child.

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