|Back to Personhood Amendment|
Colorado Eagle Forum Opposes Personhood Amendment
August 31, 2009
The Colorado Chapter of National Eagle Forum is joining with other chapters across the country in opposition of the re-introduction of the Personhood Amendment in their states. It is, at least in part, because of the reasons set forth by James Bopp Jr., National Right to Life's attorney, who outlined the unintended consequences in a 2007 memo that is relevant to the Colorado amendment. A state law or state constitutional amendment cannot overturn the U. S. Constitution or a decision of the U. S. Supreme Court. If the personhood Amendment were to pass, unborn babies would be in more danger than they are under Roe v. Wade because a new Court case would give the pro-abortion Justices the opportunity to change their legal theory from the one used in Roe v. Wade (the right to privacy) to the legal theory espoused for many years (including again this month) by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (that abortion should be legalized as an issue of gender discrimination). This shift in legal theory could enable judges to outlaw all pro-life laws enacted in the last 40 years, including the Hyde Amendment.
Do we really want our new pro-abortion member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Ms. Sotomayor, having the final say on a life issue? Jayne Schindler, Pres. Colorado Eagle Forum
The 'Personhood' initiative lost by a landslide, 73% to 27% in Colorado in 2008, and its unpopular coattails hurt good pro-life candidates there. This poorly designed initiative would not prevent a single abortion. Even if it became law, its vague language would enable more mischief by judges.
Now its organizers, who provide little information about themselves or their funding, spread their disaster to key swing states like Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Montana. This hurtful effort misleads pro-lifers with the false hope that a referendum can overturn Roe v Wade, when only the U. S. Supreme Court can do that. This enriches pro-abortion groups with a fundraising issue as they claim to preserve abortion by suing to stop this initiative, and they have already filed several lawsuits.
Florida's Catholic Bishops recently banned the collection of any signatures for this ill-advised initiative at all churches there, and most pro-life groups also oppose this initiative. We encourage support of pro-life candidates and oppose hurtful gimmicks like the Personhood initiative.
Legal memorandum against Personhood Amendment:
In this eleven page legal memorandum dated August 7, 2007, noted pro-life attorney James Bopp explains why state personhood amendments cannot overturn the U. S. Supreme Court decisions that legalize abortions, but also why "there is the potential danger that the court might actually make things worse than they presently are."
That's what will happen if the Supreme Court — augmented by new justices appointed by Barack Obama — adopts the position long advocated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and begins deciding abortion cases under the equal protection clause instead of the due process clause.
WHEREAS, many pro-life citizens have become frustrated in their attempts to re-criminalize abortion since it was made legal in Colorado 43 years ago and in all 50 states 37 years ago; and
WHEREAS, one attempt to re-criminalize abortion is by introduction of citizen initiatives called "Personhood Amendments," which would purport to establish the fact that unborn babies are "persons" under the law and would therefore have protection under the U.S. Constitution; and
WHEREAS, this tactic has been thoroughly studied by the most knowledgeable and experienced legal experts of several pro-life organizations, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; National Right to Life Committee; Eagle Forum; and Americans United for Life, a Chicago-based lawyers group and the oldest pro-life organization in the nation; and
WHEREAS, almost without exception, these legal experts warn that if such initiatives pass, they will certainly be challenged in the courts and, given the present make-up of the state and federal courts, they will be overturned, thus having diverted considerable time, effort, and resources on the part of the pro-life movement; and
WHEREAS, these same legal experts further warn that court rulings against such measures could also do more harm by more firmly entrenching the "non-personhood" status of unborn babies, thus having the opposite effect of the proponents of the initiatives; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the ____________ County Republican Party commend the intentions of those who wish to re-criminalize abortion, but urge such individuals and groups to reconsider their tactics in attempting to do so until enough state and federal officials are elected who will appoint and approve more judges who respect the value of human life; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the ____________ County Republican Party not divert its efforts to restore Republican values to American government and society by expending resources in support of the "Personhood Amendment" now being promoted in Colorado.
Jayne and Jim Schindler, Directors of Colorado Eagle Forum