In both 2008, and 2010, Colorado voters were subjected to "Personhood" Amendments in the November elections of those years. In its first iteration the amendment was defeated by nearly 73%-27% and in the most recent (Nov. 2010) by nearly 70% -30%. But neither of those one-sided defeats has deterred the zealots who will be coming back one more time this November, to try to get Coloradans (and indeed, voters in at least 12 other states including: Ohio, Montana, Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia and California) to buy their snake oil once more.
I mean, how many times do we have to administer electoral butt -whippings to get these fools to back down?
Recall that the 2008 version, called "Amendment 48" described its purview of law as applicable to "any human being from the moment of fertilization". This 2010 version, meanwhile, was named "Amendment 62" and declared its warp and legal woof to cover: "every human being from the beginning of the biological development of the human being".
The preceding expanded definition of "person" was then to be directly applicable to Sections 3, 6 and 25 of Article II of the Colorado state constitution. Under those sections we have:
Sec. (3): "All persons in the state have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, and of acquiring, possessing and protecting their property - and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness."
Sec. (6): "Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, property, or character, and justice should be administered without denial or delay."
Sec. (25): "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without the process of law".
The newest incarnation, which hasn't yet been awarded an amendment number, will make slight alterations to the earlier language such that the law would apply to: 1) "every human being regardless of the method of creation” and 2) “human being” to be operationally defined as “a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development"
In other words, a zygote of maybe 4 cells would also qualify and be able to exercise its rights.
Apart from the fact that none of the Personhood geniuses pushing these inane Amendments have hitherto informed us how a fertilized egg or zygote goes about acquiring property (by ESP? Telekinesis? Alien zombies?) there are other problematic issues that surface.
One only has to read and re-read their language to see that any pregnant woman would be at immense risk of arrest or possible prosecution, if she's perceived to be doing the slightest thing that might adversely impact the little "person" inside her womb. Drinking alcohol? Ach du Lieder! Nein! A punishable offense! Going up to Pike's Peak (where the oxygen level is barely one fifth at sea level) on the Cog Railway? Hell no! The little person will probably be brain damaged by the lack of O2!
Needless to say, our civil and criminal courts can be expected to be so inundated with cases (btw, how will these "persons" hire lawyers, or will it be done 2nd hand?) they will barely be able to function, and likely grind to a halt. I mean, if you are going to declare these zygotes are "persons" you then must defend their rights as persons under the state Constitution, no?
Even a healthy pregnant woman who rides horseback or drives an ATV on a bone jarring trail in Estes Park may be eligible for apprehension. After all, the little "person's" tiny forming bones may be at risk! Some busybody with nothing better to do might report her (a fundie nanny?)
The draconian repercussions won't end there, by any means. If any of these "Personhood" amendments (or referendums) are passed in any of these 12 states, every female of child-bearing age would have to be supervised lest she advertently or inadvertently injure the little "person" inside her. Every miscarriage occurring at home would have to be investigated by the respective states' Bureaus of Investigation.
Bottom line, all the females of child bearing age in the states in which the amendments passed would be forced to be reproductive chattel. Even if they were brutally raped- or victims of incest, a state "Fetal supervisory board" would appear to ensure the birth comes to term, never mind the rapist's growth of seed is the same thing as an extension of the rape.
Insanity anyone? This is the sort of lunacy that transpires when people lose track of their logic and reason, and substitute a cockeyed faith for knowledge. The key logical fallacy committed by these bird brains promoting Personhood is the genetic fallacy. This consists in arguing that the antecedents of something must be the same as their fulfillment. It is committed by anyone who argues, in the context of the abortion debate, that a fetus – even from the moment of conception, must really be - because it is going to become, a person.
It can't be, any more than one can argue that an acorn - because it is going to become an oak tree- is an actual oak tree. No, sorry, it isn't. I can easily lift the acorn in one hand and even roll it between my fingers, I can't do that with an oak tree. Obviously and clearly they are not the same thing, and neither is the zygote the same as a full, autonomous human PERSON. Once one crosses that slippery slope, one induces on himself or herself no end of legal grief.
Unless a human is relatively autonomous, and that means it has the capacity to acquire specific property, whether an i-pad or DVD player or home, it can't be a "person" because it hasn't attained the level of development to exercise the rights of a genuine person. This means the opponents of these looneytune amendments need to get busy now to attack the proposals on the basis of more refined language, showing a greater attention to biological details. A primary crtierion for "person"? It must have the capacity to live independently outside of the mother's body, as well as form its own moral judgments and possess the ability to conceptualize property, and to acquire it .....even in rudimentary form. (Thus, an infant crawling over a carpet who seizes a baby rattle would demonstrate such capacity at least in basic form - thereby making the rattle his or her "property")
Of course, some clarifying language may be needed to allow for certain specific exceptions, including mature adults -people suffering from Alzheimers or who may have other brain disabilities. But who will have shown capacities to recognize, acquire and use property even at earlier stages.
In the end, voters in the affected states - especially women - must realize the battle will be fought at multiple levels and they need to be ready!