Some call it a necessary recognition of what modern medicine says is true, while others call it a legal mess and ploy to overturn Roe versus Wade. Either way you look at it, Amendment 48 is stirring up controversy across the state. Sunday, the woman responsible for putting it on the ballot made a stop in the Grand Valley.
Kristi Burton has spent the past several week traveling across the state, speaking to voters about the proposed amendment she got on the state ballot. Amendment 48 would define a person in the state constitution as a human being from the moment of conception. Sunday, she told Grand Junction voters it's a necessary change.
"It's really a matter of clarifying our law and updating it and recognizing modern medical science," said Burton.
Burton says the amendment is about taking a positive approach to the right to life issue, and making sure everyone from an unborn child to an adult has that opportunity. If it poses challenges to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, legalzing abortion, she's okay with that.
"I think it's a good thing because I think in Roe versus Wade, the court did pose that question if we ever discover the unborn child was a person we'd have to reconsider this," said Burton. "So I think they need to reconsider this."
It's a move that has sent state pro-choice groups into an uproar. Aside from challenging a woman's right to choose, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado says the proposal has other dangerous implications as well.
In a statement on their website, the group says "The amendment is worded so vaguely, it's true effect is difficult to predict. It may encroach on everything from birth control, to stem cell research, to inheritance rights."
Burton says she is often asked what the amendment would do if a mother's life was in danger. She says her amendment does not put the unborn child's right to life above the mother's.
"We basically say let's save the life we can," said Burton. "If both lives are respected and we can only save one life -- and that's the mother's life -- we should save her life."
But pro-choice groups say the damage the amendment does goes much deeper than that. If a fertilized egg is considered a person, they say the proposal creates legal ground to charge women who have miscarriages or use emergency contraception with murder.
On the flip side, Burton says the proposal would create the legal grounds needed to charge criminals who do kill unborn children with murder.
"Colorado is one of only thirteen states that doesn't currently have a fetal homicide law," said Burton. "Amendment forty-eight would lay the foundation to get one of those on our books in Colorado."
Burton says she is confident Amendment 48 will pass this November, and should that be the case, she expects there to be multiple court challenges from people on both sides of the issue.
For more information on what both sides have to say about Amendment 48, click on the links below.
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