17 October 2008

Ms. Foundation Grantees Collaborate in Opposition to Colorado Amendment 48 Declaring Personhood Begins at Fertilization

Two Ms. Foundation grantees, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), and the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) are working together to oppose the "Definition of Person" amendment to the Colorado State Constitution. Amendment 48, on the ballot before voters on November 4, declares that the term person includes "any human being from the moment of fertilization" and would grant that person "inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law."

As noted on COLOR's web site, the amendment (emphasis added)
goes too far by outlawing all abortions, even in the case of rape, incest, and to save the life of the woman. The amendment does not respect family decisions and puts women's health at risk. Even though many Latinos would not choose abortion for themselves, we respect other people's decisions and believe that family decisions should be private.
In a letter to the editor in the New York Times, NAPW Executive Director Lynn M. Paltrow, writing about the Colorado amendment and related ones in California, and South Dakota, noted:
Measures that outlaw abortion and recognize fetal rights are routinely used to hurt all pregnant women, including those going to term. Such measures are used to control, and sometimes punish, women who do not want unnecessary Caesarean surgery; who want to have vaginal births after previous Caesarean surgery; women who love their children but can’t necessarily overcome a drug or alcohol problem in the short term of a pregnancy; and women who suffer unintentional stillbirths.

In collaboration, NAPW and COLOR have prepared a one-page fact sheet in English and Spanish that is part of state-wide education efforts and COLOR's grassroots door-to-door canvassing. Both organizations are also pursuing public information and voter education campaigns. Lynn Paltrow, of NAPW, in collaboration with Indra Lusero of the Luz Reproductive Justice Think Tank, wrote a commentary that has appeared in numerous local papers including the Vail Daily. Lynn Paltrow's speaking visit was covered in the Denver Daily News with an exploration of the opposition to Amendment 48.

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