By Steven Dell
Walking through the Tivoli Student Union on Campus yesterday I saw a group handing out stickers and postcards. They were campaigning against Amendment 48 to the Colorado Constitution. This Amendment is on the ballot for this November election.
The Amendment is written
“Define the term ‘person’ to include any human being from the moment of fertilization and apply this definitions of person to the section of the Colorado Constitution that protect the natural and essential rights of persons, allow open access to courts for every person, and ensure that no person has his or her life, liberty, or property taken away without due process of law.”
Actual text can be viewed here.
How could such an encompassing amendment even make it to the general election? The Daily Camera reported on May 30th
“Secretary of State Mike Coffman said backers of the proposed state constitutional amendment turned in an estimated 103,000 valid signatures, far more than the 76,000 required.”
The answer is that proposed amendment that gains enough signatures can be voted on by the people of Colorado to amend the constitution. Once it is amended it is law. Special interest groups can then take their ideas to streets to collect signatures so that it can be voted on in the general election. A good video of how it is done can be viewed here.
This is where I have a problem with our legislative process. People think too much with their emotions. If you get someone riled enough they will vote to pass anything no matter how ridiculous. People would argue this is true Democracy and is the way it should be. Are average people (including me) at all qualified enough to write laws? Isn’t this why we have a representative government in the first place? Why can’t my representatives do the job I’m paying them for?
I don’t pretend to know any thing about Doctoring either. So how in the world would I decide on any particularly health oriented amendment such as 48? Do Doctors think at the moment of fertilization an egg is a person?
Is this definition even valid legally? Think of a pregnant woman who has cancer, should a doctor have to call a third party lawyer (who has nothing at all to do with the doctor patient relationship) before administering any kind of chemo-therapy because it could endanger the “person” in the womb? I think all are relevant questions and I know I am not the person that should be answering them.
Referendum O would limit this process, I don’t think it goes far enough but it is a start. In that ref O link it does talk about how the Colorado Constitution is one of the easiest constitutions to amend. It is too easy for my taste, especially when you look at the US constitution as a model.
One last video by the late George Carlin, if you know him you know his language can be colorful at best so watch knowing you have been warned. It is relevant to the post. All of his fans will miss his witty cynicism.
Let me make clear where I stand on this. People should collect signatures and contact their representatives if they feel their government needs to change, they should not be able to change it directly. I do not agree with abortion, and I know that I personally could never make the decision to terminate. I do not feel it is my decision to make when it comes to other people. The decision should be between the doctor and the patient, and maybe the patient’s family but even that is a streach.