Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What? Again!? Really!?

Today’s screed is brought to you by the Colorado Voter Guide for the November 04, 2014 election. Please remember to voice your opinion this fall and VOTE! Warning: This column contains words and concepts that some people may find offensive. Please do not continue if you are easily offended.

You have been warned – continue only if you are not easily offended!

For the third (or fourth – I have lost count) time now, the radical religious right have gotten onto the ballot in the State of Colorado an amendment to the constitution defining “Child” and “Person” to include all potential human beings that ever could be. Among other things, this amendment could make masturbation a capital offense.

I guess that this is a bit of an extreme interpretation, but rather than becoming more specific with each attempt, the proposed changes are becoming vaguer so as to further obscure what the potential impacts would be. This time the amendment states that in the laws of the state of Colorado “person” or “child” will henceforth refer to any unborn human being.

This wording is so vague as to make masturbation tantamount to murder. Follow this logic: if you take this wording at face value then, yes, it could stop at a zygote being a defined as a human being. But then, why stop at fertilization? Surely a human egg and a spermatozoa are both potentially ‘unborn people.’ Granted, after fertilization, the egg has a better chance of becoming a human being – but there is still a chance.

So, if I don’t impregnate my mate each time she ovulates, then I have stopped a potential human from being born. Is that covered in this amendment? It could be argued that it could be. Sure this is an extreme interpretation – but then again, so is calling a zygote - that may or may not implant in the womb - a ‘human.’ This amendment is nothing but an unveiled attempt to move us back to the bad-old-days before women had healthcare choices.

If the termination ANY fertilized egg is murder, does that mean that a woman whose zygote fails to implant in the uterus is a murderess? Roughly fifty percent of all fertilized eggs are lost through natural means before they implant (if the current medical research is to be believed). The problem with the whole amendment is that it confuses its definitions. A zygote may be a potential human being - but is it is not even a likely human being - let alone an actual 'person.'

I have no problem with the religious belief that ‘life begins at conception.’ If that is what you believe – more power to you. But please remember that there are religions and belief structures to which you, personally, do not belong. If you get to enforce your bronze-age ethos on everyone, does that not mean that every other religion gets the same right?

The laws in the state of Colorado criminal code already define ‘person’ as a human being who has been born and is alive at the time the offense. There is also provision in the code for crimes that cause the illegal termination of a pregnancy; specifically where that termination is against the will of the mother. So, the only reason for a ‘Personhood’ amendment is to make birth control of all forms illegal.

Leave the constitution alone. If you are ethically or morally against the pill or legal abortion - don't have one. Just remember, allowing YOU to enforce your religion against others is a slippery slope. There are other religions out there! 

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will remember that there are religions other than yours – and that you would not like them imposed on you any more that everyone else likes having yours imposed on them.

Don Bergquist – September 30, 2014 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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