Why I’m Voting Against Amendment 67 and Why You Should, Too: ‘Personhood’ is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing and Harmful to Women by Nanette Santoro

Why I’m Voting Against Amendment 67 and Why You Should, Too: ‘Personhood’ is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing and Harmful to Women by Nanette Santoro

Who wouldn’t want to support the following statement:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining “person” and “child” in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings?

This is the exact phrasing of what will appear on your ballot in November. Don’t we all want to protect pregnant women? Looks like something most people would want to support, right?

This is an example of the use of deliberately deceptive language to mislead Colorado voters. It is led by a small group of extremists who view the world in black and white terms and choose to force the rest of us to resolve our moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding pregnant women’s choices with an iron-clad, one-size-fits-all answer.

Make no mistake. Amendment 67 will NOT protect women. It will cause them harm. As an obstetrician gynecologist who has been in practice for 34 years, it is hard for me to count all the ways that Amendment 67 can rob adult, pregnant women from having control of their own bodies, but here are a few:

  • About 1 of every 50 pregnancies lands in the Fallopian tube and not in the uterus, where it belongs. Tubal pregnancies, also called ectopic pregnancies, will grow until they burrow all the way through the tube. At this point, the tube ruptures and the pregnancy must be removed or the mother is at risk for death from excessive bleeding. With modern management and early detection, ectopic pregnancies are a rare cause of maternal death. Amendment 67 can be used to block a woman’s access to early intervention for a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, on the grounds that the unborn embryo inside of her has ‘personhood’, and with personhood comes equal rights to life as the mother. Does this sound like it is protecting pregnant women to you?
  • Although we would like to believe that every time a woman gets pregnant, she is going to have an uneventful pregnancy and a healthy baby, that is not the case. Many pregnancies are complicated by significant risks to the mother’s health or a significant chance that a baby will be born with a serious disease and its parents won’t be able to handle or cannot afford to care for a child with the disease. Sometimes, couples have to make agonizing, difficult decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy. None of the choices are happy choices and none will result in a healthy mother and baby as the outcome. By inserting the State between the expectant couple and their decision, Amendment 67 could force couples who have decided to end a severely affected pregnancy for the health of the mother to carry that pregnancy to term—risking the mother’s life at the expense of the unborn ‘person’ who has the same rights as she does. Does this sound like it is protecting pregnant women to you?
  • Up to 30% or more of early pregnancies result in a miscarriage. This is often a heartbreaking experience for couples and in my infertility practice, it is even more heartbreaking because of how much these couples have already gone through to try to have a baby. Decisions about how to manage a failed pregnancy are difficult, but often involve taking active steps to empty the uterus, using medication or minor surgery (such as a D&C). Because it views an unborn child as a person and because the extremists behind this amendment view a fertilized egg as an unborn child, Amendment 67 could be used to block attempts to clear out an early failed pregnancy, and expose the mother to risks of infection, bleeding and uterine scarring that could make future pregnancies more difficult. Does this sound like it is protecting pregnant women to you?
  • Amendment 67 is sexist and will rob women of their basic civil rights when they are pregnant. Simply put, Amendment 67 will allow citizens who want to impose their own personal beliefs on others to bring lawsuits on behalf of the unborn fetus against and adult, pregnant women any time they decide that a woman might be endangering her pregnancy. Do you want the State to have this level of control over adult pregnant women? Does this sound like protection of women to you?
  • Amendment 67 can dictate what birth control you use. If a woman uses a method of contraception that amendment supporters believe ‘endangers an unborn child’, she could be subject to prosecution or her contraceptive choices could be curtailed by law. Does this sound like it is protecting women to you?
  • Amendment 67 is also called the ‘Brady Amendment’ because it has taken on the cause of the Surovik family’s tragedy. Heather Surovik was 38 weeks pregnant with her soon-to-be new son, who the family was going to name Brady. A drunk driver crashed into the Surovik’s car, and soon-to-be baby Brady died in utero of injuries caused by the accident. The drunk driver who crashed into the Suroviks’ car can be sued for damages and can be prosecuted as a criminal but cannot be prosecuted for homicide. There are already laws on the books in Colorado that allow for criminal prosecution and damages for the wrongful death of an unborn child. Brady’s rights are not being ignored; he is just not allowed to prosecute the drunk driver for homicide. How, exactly, does passage of this amendment protect pregnant women?

Don’t’ be fooled by this wolf in sheep’s clothing! The mildly stated and matter-of-fact language being used to deceive the public is a calculated effort to slide a significant piece of legislation into law that will be used to limit women’s rights and invade some of their most private, personal, and painful decisions. There have been several attempts nationally to insert similar, innocuous appearing statements into law. Some have succeeded and they are expected to have far reaching effects. Amendment 67 is part of a larger agenda being relentlessly pursued by a faction of people who want to imposed their values and beliefs on all of the citizens of Colorado. The values behind Amendment 67 are not consistent with mine and, based on numerous polls, are not consistent with what most Americans believe. The ultimate goal of amendments of this nature is to criminalize abortion and make the extreme, anti-choice-under-any-circumstance views of extremists the law of the land. This it he 3rd time that ‘personhood’ has been up for a vote in Colorado and each time the wise citizens of this state have defeated the measure by a very large margin. Please use your vote and show that Colorado cannot be fooled by slick marketing and deceptive language. Amendment 67 is bad idea and will do nothing to expand pregnant women’s rights and everything to restrict them!



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