Senate candidates oppose 'personhood' amendment


— Neither candidate for state Senate District 8 will support nor vote for Amendment 48, which effectively would eliminate abortions if passed in the Nov. 4 general election.

Known as the "personhood amendment," Amendment 48 would rewrite the state Constitution so that all people - as defined as "any human being from the moment of fertilization" - would have the same rights and access to equality of justice and due process of law as any other person.

The two candidates - Democrat Ken Brenner and Republican state Rep. Al White - identified the ballot question as an abortion issue.

If voters approved the amendment, the one elected to office will be able to define what penalties and crimes are associated with violating a fetus' rights. If the amendment does not pass, the newly elected lawmaker will be in a position to challenge or support such a law if proposed in the Legislature.

White, who opposes 48, said it's something of a moot issue for now, however.

"It's all pre-empted by the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade," he said. "To me, the abortion issue is not a state issue at this point."

He added that Amendment 48 likely would do nothing to challenge the federal government's position. A ballot question up for vote in South Dakota this year would have a greater chance of provoking discussion and/or change at the federal level.

That question specifically addresses abortion, making the procedure illegal in all cases except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened.

White, who said he is pro-life, added he would want those protections for women included in abortion legislation should states be given the authority to pass laws on the issue.

Brenner, his opponent, mentioned the same issues while discussing his opposition to Amendment 48.

"It's just too extreme," he said. "It would prohibit an abortion in cases of rape, of incest and life health issues of the mother. It also opens all kinds of legal questions about the rights of an unborn fetus."

For example, what if a mother doesn't know she is pregnant and drinks too much, harming her baby? Under Amendment 48, she could be subject to criminal prosecution, Brenner said.

Having such a standard in the state Constitution, which is poorly defined, could further damage a Constitution already filled with other harmful provisions, Brenner said.

"We would probably be discovering unintended consequences for a long time," he said.

White agreed, and said, "We don't need to put this kind of law into the Constitution."

The two men do, however, have a basic disagreement.

Amendment 48 "violates my fundamental belief that a woman should be able to choose what happens to her own body, when it happens and how it happens," Brenner said.

White's general views on abortion are somewhat different, though not definitively so.

"I'm pro-life," he said. "I can't look at my kids and conceivably think of a world that would be better off if they had been aborted."

White could not say what specific abortion legislation he would support if the states had the authority to make those laws, however. He said it was a hypothetical question with too many variables.


Diana Hsieh 8 years, 6 months ago

The advocates of Amendment 48 claim that a newly-created embryo -- a single cell without any human attributes except DNA -- is a human person with a right to life. They wish to force that view on everyone, whatever the costs. Consider:

  • Amendment 48 would make abortion first-degree murder, except perhaps to save the woman's life. First-degree murder is defined in Colorado law as deliberately causing the death of a "person," a crime punished by life in prison or the death penalty. So women and their doctors would be punished with the severest possible penalty under law for terminating a pregnancy -- even in cases of rape, incest, and fetal deformity.

  • Amendment 48 would ban any form of birth control that might sometimes prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus -- including the birth control pill, morning-after pill, and IUD. The result would be many more unintended pregnancies and unwanted children in Colorado.

  • Amendment 48 would ban in vitro fertilization because the process usually creates more fertilized eggs than can be safely implanted in the womb. So every year, hundreds of Colorado couples would be denied the joy of a child of their own.

Amendment 48 has very sharp teeth. Yet such consequences seem to be of little concern to the advocates of Amendment 48. They think that the men and women of Colorado should be forced to sacrifice for the sake these new "persons" in the womb.

So we must ask: Is a fertilized egg a human person with a right to life? The only rational answer is "NO."

An embryo or fetus is wholly dependent on the woman for its basic life-functions. It goes where she goes, eats what she eats, and breathes what she breathes. It lives as an extension of her body, contained within and dependent on her for its survival. It is only a potential person, not an actual person.

That situation changes radically at birth. The newborn baby exists as a distinct organism, separate from his mother. Although still very needy, he lives his own life. He is a person, and his life must be protected as a matter of right.

So when a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy she does not violate the rights of any person. Instead, she is properly exercising her own rights over her own body in pursuit of her own happiness.

For more information, visit:

For a detailed analysis, see the issue paper "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person" by Ari Armstrong and myself. It's available at:

The sad fact is that Amendment 48 is based on sectarian religious dogma, not objective science or philosophy. It is a blatant attempt to impose theocracy in America.

Please vote NO on 48!

Diana Hsieh Founder, Coalition for Secular Government


DV8 8 years, 6 months ago

This admendment is truly frightening. Not only could it ban the use of birth control, but if someone were to be using it, after getting it from a pharmecy in another state, they could be charged with murder. With the way that our DA's office works, they would be all over the murder charges.

If this definition of person is passed, what's next?
Giving rights to sperm and eggs?


JDR4 8 years, 6 months ago

thats what this does!!!!!!!

horrible back door bs.


maverick 8 years, 5 months ago

If you want a good comparison of what a "person" is, go check out this video. Do it BEFORE you vote!


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