9/28/10

A poorly conceived notion

If adopted, Amendment 62 would add this to the state constitution:

Section 32. Person defined. As used in sections 3*, 6**, and 25*** of Article II of the state constitution, the term "person" shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.

The sections of the state constitution cited by Amendment 62 include the affirmation of "... natural, essential, and inalienable rights ..."; "equality of justice;" and "due process of law".

What do they mean by "... beginning of the biological development ..."? The PersonHood website says it means "... when the sperm touches the ovum ...". That website claims that the amendment "... won't ban contraception ...". Amendment 62 supporters dismiss the definition of "conception" held by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which requires the attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine wall. Actually, the sperm cell has to to more than simply 'touch' the ovum; it has to penetrate the cell wall - which is not as simple as it sounds - and deliver its genetic payload.

While most birth control pills prevent ovulation, their other effects can still prevent the attachment of a fertilized ovum - the egg - to the uterine wall in the event ovulation does take place, an event that may occur for a number of reasons, not the least of which is inconsistency in using the pill. The fertilized egg therefore dies and is eliminated from the woman's body. This would violate a post Amendment 62 constitution.

The Amendment 62 supporters’ definition of “conception” would effectively ban the use of today’s most common form of birth control. No woman in the state would be able to obtain a prescription for a drug that "violates" the rights of a fertilized egg, which would now enjoy the full rights of any living, breathing human being. Banning this form of birth control is clearly on the agenda of the supporters of 62; they state as much on their website.

Church doctrines are all over the place on this. Some allow pre-fertilization birth control, some do not, and others leave it up to the church members to "prayerfully consider ...". All of that is fine; it is an individual choice to belong to a church, or not, and even if one belongs to a church, to accept all of its doctrines 'religiously' ... or not. None of these doctrines seem to really define what they mean by "conception." Two of our foremost theologians, Thomas Aquinas with his views on "ensoulment" and Karl Barth with his views on birth control in Church Dogmatics, do nothing to clarify matters. Fundamentalists who insist on the literalness of creation as described in Genesis, using junk 'science' to support that view, will embrace the hard science of embryology, at least that which selectively supports their view.

Amendment 62 supporters are religiously oriented. They present a study in “selective literalism”, that is, taking as literal only those Scriptures that suit one’s political or personal agenda while minimizing or ignoring contradicting or contextual passages. Much of what they say is consistent with various church doctrines, which quite frankly doesn't say much for some church doctrines, but that's another story. The separation of church and state is a two-way concept. The state must be protected from religion as much as religion must be protected from the state. With Amendment 62, some of the most fanatical of the Christian Right are seeking to impose their “selectively literal” Biblical views, or church doctrines, upon all of the state’s residents. It is one thing for members of a church to refuse certain birth control measures based on their beliefs. That's a personal choice. It is something else entirely when they attempt to use the state’s constitution to force their religious views on everyone else.

Ken Buck has 'backed away' from his support of 62. He didn't understand the bit about birth control. It isn't the first time Buck has 'backed away' from a position. The term 'backed away' is what politicians use when they realize their position is going to cost them votes.

Buck's original statement: I am pro-life, and I’ll answer the next question. I don’t believe in the exceptions of rape or incest. I believe that the only exception, I guess, is life of the mother. And that is only if it’s truly life of the mother. To me, you can’t say you’re pro-life and say — if there is, and it’s a very rare situation where one life would have to cease for the other life to exist. But in that very rare situation, we may have to take the life of the child to save the life of the mother. In that rare situation, I am in favor of that exception. But other than that I have no exceptions in my position.

Apparently he no longer believes that. He still doesn't get my vote.

Dan Maes is a 62 supporter. So is Tancredo, though as you can see from the article about Buck, Tancredo is essentially clueless about what 62 really does. That fits in with a lot of Tancredo's other cluelessness as well.

And then in the Colorado 4th, Cory Gardner, another 62 supporter,  now there's a man of real principle: When asked if he would allow exceptions for victims of rape or incest, or when the mother's life is in danger, Gardner said, "I'm pro-life, and I believe abortion is wrong." If I still lived in the CO 4th, I'd sure vote for Betsey, even if she is a Democrat.

As for Dan and Tom ... Hick is looking better every day.

It's going to be another one of those "hold your nose and vote" elections.