July 6, 2022

Personhood amendment fails in Colorado

And in South Dakota and California, anti-abortion measures fail

238-eggsColorado voters convincingly rejected a ballot initiative to give legal
personhood to embryos right up to the moment of conception, by a margin of 3 to
1. Amendment 48 would have granted constitutional rights to embryos including
due process and inalienable rights. The unspoken consequence would have been a
ban on abortion, embryo experimentation and even some forms of contraception.

Convincing voters to reverse a deeply entrenched mindset and decades of
legislation was bound to be an uphill battle in Colorado. (In 1967, it was the
first state to legalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a woman’s health.)
The so-called Personhood Amendment was bound to be controversial, but its
backers failed to win the support of important abortion opponents, such as
National Right to Life and the Catholic archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput.

The powerful evangelical group Focus on the Family, which is based in the
state, and some politicians did support it. However, Planned Parenthood outspent
them by a wide margin.

And in South Dakota and California, anti-abortion initiatives also failed.
South Dakota’s Measure 11 would have criminalized abortion, except for cases of
rape, incest, or a woman’s health. This is the second election in a row in which
voters there rejected an abortion ban. In California, voters turned down a
proposal for parental notification. The losing side claimed that Planned
Parenthood had outspent them by a 5-to-1 margin.