Sunday, July 08, 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007
Coloradans aim to exploit hole in 'Roe'
Plan would declare personhood for unborn
Posted: July 6, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007

A team of Coloradans wants to exploit a loophole in the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned state laws banning abortion – by simply stating that an unborn child, from the moment of fertilization, is a person.

In a comprehensive plan that would ban all abortions, the Colorado Equal Rights organization is trying something that hasn't been accomplished – yet – in the battle against abortion.

"It is the only way we're going to bring before the Supreme Court the issue of personhood. It's a subject they have dodged for the last 30-plus years. It's an issue that needs to be addressed," spokesman Mark Meuser told WND.

The "hole" in Roe v. Wade is the little-publicized comment from Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the 1973 opinion, in which he noted, "[If the] suggestion of personhood [for the unborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

The same approach, Meuser said, was attempted in Michigan, where not enough signatures were verified, and is in process in Mississippi. In Georgia, as WND has reported, lawmakers are reaching for the same goal through a legislative process.

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Noting Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion, due to the work of ex-Gov. Dick Lamm, then a state lawmaker, Meuser told WND, "We should be the first state to turn around and acknowledge our mistake and grant personhood to the unborn."

The state's Legislative Council already has approved the wording of the proposal, which would read:

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado: SECTION 1. Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read: Section 31. Person defined. AS USED IN SECTIONS 3, 6, AND 25 OF ARTICLE II OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION, THE TERMS "PERSON" OR "PERSONS" SHALL INCLUDE ANY HUMAN BEING FROM THE MOMENT OF FERTILIZATION.

Meuser said the council asked a series of questions about the proposal and its expected impact.

"Our purpose is to protect all life and, thus, we want to start at the moment life actually begins," he told the group.

"The Legislative Council also asked what the effect of the amendment would be on the 'undue burden' test as established in Roe v. Wade," he reported.

He explained that the court created that test "because they could not find that 'person' was defined for state or national constitutional purposes."

"Because our amendment defines life as beginning at fertilization, it makes the 'undue burden' test a moot issue," he said.

Aiming for the 2008 ballot, he said he wants to work with a coalition of groups to collect the 76,000-plus signatures needed to put it on the ballot.

"We're in the process of talking with all the groups, letting them know what the vision is and how we plan to go about it," he said.

He said a team of abortion promoters also listened to his presentation to the state board, but the avenue he's using will leave little recourse if successful.

"I've read that decision multiple times. I've listened to the actual oral arguments. I'm very familiar with the loophole that was created in Roe v. Wade. We're attacking it. Why have we waited 30 years to attack the weakness the enemy showed us?" he said.

The new definition of person specifically would be applied to sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution.

Those sections confirm that all "persons" have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, including "the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties," that courts of justice shall be open to every "person," and no "person" shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.

In Georgia, state Right to Life spokesman Dan Becker said the goal of that legislative plan is the same: no abortions, no exceptions. Not even rape and incest.

The precedent-setting plan already is on track to be presented to voters as a constitutional amendment as early as next year.

"The whole sanctity of life cause is based on Genesis 1:26-28, where it talks about man is created in the image of God and has worth at all levels," Becker said. "Hence, we are working at a state level for a paramount human life amendment to our constitution."

The Georgia plan was written by the Thomas More Law Center, which advocates for pro-life causes:

"The rights of every person shall be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life. The right to life is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person. With respect to the fundamental and inalienable rights of all persons guaranteed in this Constitution, the word 'person' applies to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency, including unborn children at every state of their biological development, including fertilization."

"If we're consistent with God's position in his Word, we expect him to fight our battles for us," Becker said. "We've seen success after success, and we can't claim that's due to outstanding organization or increased funding, even though all of that's true.