Vote No 67 Says No to Legislation in the Colorado General Assembly to Create Personhood

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Fofi Mendez


April 15, 2015
Press Release / For Immediate Release

Vote No 67 Says No to Legislation in the Colorado General Assembly to Create Personhood

All Coloradans are horrified by the violent attack on Michelle Wilkins of Longmont, Colorado. She was violently assaulted by another woman who attempted to steal her unborn child. The alleged perpetrator of this awful crime has been charged with multiple counts of felony criminal behavior, including attempted first degree murder and first degree unlawful termination of pregnancy. If convicted, the assailant will spend the rest of her life in prison.

However, there are some who want to use this tragedy for political gain to attack access to safe abortion services in Colorado. Yesterday, anti-abortion extremists in the Colorado legislature introduced a bill, SB-268, "Offenses Against Unborn Children." The legislation seeks to create new criminal charge of fetal homicide, which would result in a new definition of a "person" in Colorado law to include an "unborn child at every state of gestation from conception until childbirth.". In other words -- creation of "personhood."

This bill goes against Colorado values. Colorado voters have wisely rejected "personhood" time and time again. They understand creating "personhood" in Colorado law is dangerous and could criminalize Colorado women and their doctors, who need access to safe abortion services. This past November voters overwhelming rejected the personhood Amendment 67 on the ballot by 64%. Furthermore, SB-268 could put women who have suffered their own loss of a miscarriage or stillborn birth at risk of being prosecuted. SB-268 is a very dangerous proposal for Colorado women and their health.

And Colorado's legal system already has the tools to respond and punish criminals who attack pregnant women. In 2013, the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation known as "Unlawful Termination of Pregnancy." The bill included different degrees of charges when someone attacks a pregnant woman causing her to lose her pregnancy, including a second degree felony, which carries the sentence of 32 years in prison. This charge and the sentence given for it will be in addition to all others, which in the case of the Longmont attack could result in a sentence of 112 years. This law was written using a carefully balanced approach, with the goal of creating strict and harsh protections for pregnant women who are victims of crime, while also protecting Colorado women's reproductive rights.

We support pregnant women who are the victims of crime and we support holding criminals accountable under our laws -- but using tragedies to politicize and limit access to safe abortion care services is wrong.