Health ballot issues 62, 63 grab few headlines
Amendments would define ‘personhood,’ challenge federal health care requirement
Steamboat SpringsSteamboat Springs — With the attention the three proposed fiscal amendments to the state constitution have received from politicians and the media, two other potentially important amendments have so far slid by with little comment. — With the attention the three proposed fiscal amendments to the state constitution have received from politicians and the media, two other potentially important amendments have so far slid by with little comment.
Steamboat Springs — With the attention the three proposed fiscal amendments to the state constitution have received from politicians and the media, two other potentially important amendments have so far slid by with little comment.
Amendment 62 is a reprisal of the “personhood” amendment from 2008, and Amendment 63 is an attempt to stop federal intervention in state health care law.
The personhood amendment is not identical to the 2008 measure, but it is similar in its goal of creating a legal definition of “person” that would include fetuses. The 2008 measure called for an addition of “any human being from the moment of fertilization,” while this year’s measure calls for the term “person” to be used “from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”
The state’s nonpartisan Blue Book analysis from the legislative council states that the measure “may establish the legal foundation to end the practice of abortion in Colorado.” The analysis also points out there is no legal or medical consensus on what “beginning of biological development” would mean, because it is not a commonly used term and the definition “cannot be easily and conclusively pinpointed.”
The Blue Book also states under arguments for Amendment 62 that it “ensures that all human life is afforded equal protection under the law. Currently, this right is not recognized until birth. Amendment 62 acknowledges that a new human life is created at the beginning of biological development and gives all human life, whether born or unborn, equal rights and protections.”
The amendment could limit the types of medical care women could receive, according to arguments against it listed in the Blue Book.
“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.”
Routt County Democratic Party Chairwoman Catherine Carson said the measure is “disingenuous and misleading” because it’s largely a reprisal of the failed 2008 measure.
“It’s another chance to sneak it through, potentially,” she said.
State House District 57 Libertarian candidate Mike Kien also opposed the measure, even though he supports the ideas behind it.
“I believe what they’re saying, I just don’t think, as a Libertarian, we can use government to force other people” to act certain ways, he said.
Resident Chuck McConnell, who works with Routt County Republicans, said he sees both sides of the issue because his daughters are on opposite sides of the abortion debate. He said it’s a nuanced issue, though, and it’s not easy to give a definitive stance on such a complicated topic.
Amendment 63 “adds health care choice as a right listed in the bill of rights in the Colorado Constitution,” according to the Blue Book, and basically states that federal health insurance requirements would not be applicable.
“Amendment 63 does not change current health care coverage requirements, but it places restrictions on what the state may require in the future,” according to the Blue Book analysis.
Although the hands-off approach is in line with Kien’s Libertarian views, he said he couldn’t support the measure because it’s “a half-thought-out plan to do away with Obamacare.”
The Blue Book also states that the measure might end up being primarily a protest statement because federal law still will require everyone to have health insurance beginning in 2014.
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