Will Colorado Politicians who Supported "Personhood" in 2010 Be Back It Again?

Backers of a Colorado personhood amendment, which would essentially give the same legal protections to a fertilized egg or "zygote" as you've got if you're alive and reading this, stated on Nov. 22 that they've launched their campaign to put a personhood measure on the Colorado ballot next year.

The question for reporters to ask now is, will the same politicians who backed the personhood amendment last year jump on board again?

Here in Colorado, some of the highest-ranking GOP politicians in the state are personhood backers, even though the measure was shot down badly both in 2008 and again in 2010.

Last year, failed Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck un-endorsed the measure, after it became clear that it would not only ban almost all abortions, but also common birth-control methods, like IUDs and some forms of the Pill.

But other high-powered Colorado politicians who backed personhood last year didn't take their endorsements back. These include Congressmen Mike Coffman,Cory Gardner, and Scott Tipton, as well as numerous state legislators, all Republicans. I attended the Nov. 22 personhood news conference to make sure these issues were raised by reporters, and because they were not, I filled in the journalistic gap. I asked Kristi Burton Brown, who sponsored Colorado's (and the nation's) first personhood amendment with her father in 2008, if she expected to get the same support from major candidates that her measure had gotten previously. I mean, you can argue that without a Republican primary, GOP candidates like Rep. Tipton and Rep. Gardner might not endorse the 2012 measure, given its apparent unpopularity with voters, especially women. And neither Coffman, Gardner, nor Tipton have sponsored legislation in Congress that would establish personhood as the law of the land, not just Colorado, so you have to wonder what's going on with them.

"I haven't personally talked to [Tipton and Gardner]," Brown told me. "I know Cory Gardner is very conservative, has really good stands. I talked to him on the 2008 amendment. He was very, very supportive. He was one of our main supporters. So I would guess that he would."

When she says a main supporter what does she mean?

"Very supportive," she said. "He would come to events for us. He talked about it." Here's Gardner at one personhood event. I asked Gualberto Garcia Jones, who spoke at the news conference and wrote (with Brown) this year's amendment, which has more expansive and precise language than last year's, if he thought presidential candidate Mitt Romney would support his amendment this time, given that he's changed his position over the years. Garcia Jones said Romney is known as a flip flopper and that his group would persevere regardless of the positions of Democratic or Republican politicians. (No major Democrats support the effort, as far as I know, but Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich back personhood, and it's endorsed in a plank of the national GOP platform.

Asked at the news conference if he thought he'd get Tipton and Gardner on board for personhood this time, former Colorado gubernatorial candidate and "Generations Radio" host Kevin Swanson, said, "I think so," adding that he hopes to get Democrats as well. (In his prepared remarks, Swanson repeated his view that said Dr. Seuss summed up the amendment best when he wrote, "A person's a person no matter how small.") "I think it's real possible we could get some strong Republican support," but he said he hadn't been in touch with Tipton or Gardner.

This post was originally published at RH Reality Check, a site of news, community and commentary for reproductive health and justice


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