In a strong victory for reproductive rights, the Colorado ballot initiative Amendment 62 was defeated by an overwhelming margin of 2-to-1 on Tuesday night. The measure (PDF) sought to amend the state constitution so that "the term 'person' [would] apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
If the initiative had passed, it would not only have put a woman's right to an abortion in danger but also threatened the legality of oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research. NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado clarified in its press statement, "Amendment 62 is a dangerous and deceptive ballot proposal that seeks to extend legal and constitutional rights to a woman's fertilized eggs. It would ban all abortion in Colorado, including in cases of rape, incest or when a woman's life is at risk."
The proposed measure went even further than Amendment 48, which was defeated in the 2008 elections by 73 percent, and declared a fertilized egg to be a person who enjoys all constitutional rights "relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law."
The Fetal Personhood Amendment to the Mississippi Constitution is scheduled to be on the Mississippi 2011 ballot. A judge in Hinds County, Mississippi recently ruled against the ACLU and Planned Parenthood attempt to remove it from the 2011 ballot. The "Personhood Amendment," an anti-abortion initiative, from ballots next year, the Personhood U.S.A. movement -- founded by Keith Mason of Kansas and Cal Zastrow of Michigan, both members of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion extremist group -- has nevertheless suffered defeat after defeat. In February 2010, the so-called "Personhood Initiative" suffered an overwhelming defeat after the New Hampshire House voted 219-122 against the measure. The initiative also failed to appear on Florida and Nevada ballots this year due to lack of signatures on the petitions supporting the measure. Anti-choice forces are split on the fetal personhood initiative, which has proven to be unsuccessful because it exposes that a large portion of the right to life groups would like to outlaw contraception.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .