The sponsors of Colorado's Amendment 62, which would apply the word "person" as used in the state constitution to every human being from the beginning of biological development, filed suit yesterday against the Colorado Legislative Council. The Legislative Council staff drafts the "Blue Book," Colorado's ballot pamphlet that contains the full text of each measure on the statewide ballot, along with a non-partisan analysis and a summary of the arguments for and against each measure. Amendment 62 proponents contend that the arguments against the measure presented in the Blue Book are inaccurate and misleading.
The following is an excerpt from the Blue Book:
1) Amendment 62 may limit the ability of individuals and families to make important health care decisions. The measure could be used to prohibit or limit access to medical care, including abortions for victims of rape or incest, and even when a woman's life is in danger. Amendment 62 may also limit access to emergency contraception, commonly used forms of birth control, and treatment for miscarriages, tubal pregnancies, cancer, and infertility. The measure may restrict some stem cell research that could lead to life-saving therapies for a variety of disabilities and illnesses.
2) Amendment 62 allows government intrusion in the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship and could limit the exercise of independent medical judgment. The measure could restrict a doctor from using certain medical procedures and treatments. Further, "the beginning of biological development" cannot be easily and conclusively pinpointed. Therefore, the measure may subject doctors and nurses to legal action for providing medical care to a woman of child-bearing age if that care could affect a "person" other than the identified patient.
3) The effects of Amendment 62's change to the constitution are unclear. The measure applies certain rights from "the beginning of biological development," a term which is not defined within the measure, has no established legal meaning, and is not an accepted medical or scientific term. The legislature and the courts will have to decide how a wide variety of laws, including property rights and criminal laws, will apply from "the beginning of biological development."
The sponsors object to the truthfulness of the arguments that passage of Amendment 62 might lead to women being denied treatment for a miscarriage, or that doctors could be at risk of legal action for treating women of child-bearing age. Finally, they disagree with the contention that the term "the beginning of biological development" has no established legal meaning.
According to The Denver Post, there have been five challenges to Blue Book language since 1996, none successful. This year's Blue Book has been available online since last week, and 1.8 million copies are already in the mail to Colorado voters.