Colorado voters will be visited by an old issue this November, but under a new guise. Amendment 67 or “Brady’s Bill,” as supporters call it, is a constitutional amendment initiated by Personhood USA aimed at including unborn human beings in the definition of person or child, according to Ballotpedia. Despite the bill bearing little difference from Personhood USA’s past failed amendments, this recent attempt at establishing fetal personhood is being championed as a social justice cause to the public, and is gaining modest support. However, Coloradans should not be fooled: this bill is a serious governmental overreach that poses a serious threat to women’s rights if approved by voters.
Amendment 67 was purportedly created to seek justice for a woman whose unborn child was killed in a car crash, but the bill itself has much more overreaching implications. Heather Surovik lost her preborn child, Brady, in a car accident, but the driver was not charged because a fetus is not considered a person under Colorado law. While Amendment 67 would close this unfortunate legal loophole, its ramifications are so much more severe that it might be considered exploitative of the situation.
Let’s consider the phrasing of this proposed amendment to voters. The ballot question reads: “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?” If unborn children were included into our criminal code, justice would be won for Brady, but at the expense of countless rights for women across the state. The Amendment’s policy, by extension, would outlaw abortion in all cases and almost all forms of birth control. This kind of policy is dangerous and it is unacceptable to try to put this degree of limitations on a medical issue that should not be embattled by political ideology.
While broader medical issues like the structure of healthcare obviously require government attention, we cannot allow personal health choices to be drawn into the same realm. While abortion and the use of birth control do tend to spark debate among competing ideologies, we cannot allow issues like this to be drawn into a political setting. Decisions involving birth control, pregnancy or abortion are extremely personal choices that have significant economic and health ramifications associated with every option. Women need to be given the respect to deal with these issues as they see fit.
By dragging this issue to the public forefront, we show a lack of respect for women’s independence, and put societal pressure on them to make choices that match our personal values. It is not our choice, regardless of our gender, our religion or any other status; a woman’s health concerns belong between her and her doctor. Anything else is unacceptable. Amendment 67 seeks to encroach on women’s right to make informed decisions about their own bodies. We cannot vote for such an intrusion into their lives. This November, let’s give women the privacy they deserve.
Collegian Senior Columnist Sean Kennedy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter by @seanskenn