A crowd of nearly 250 people gathered outside the Tivoli Oct. 17 to urge voters to vote no on Amendment 67 this November.
“Election day is the most important day of your life besides the day you were born,” said Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Dolores Huerta. “Vote no on 67.”
The initiative would amend the Colorado constitution “by defining ‘person’ and ‘child’ in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act to include unborn human beings.”
Huerta, an 84-year-old mother of 11 and leader in the women’s, civil and labor rights movements, said all women have the right to decide what to do with their lives.
The initiative’s backers claim to want justice for Heather Surovik, who lost her unborn child after a drunk driver struck her car.
The Colorado State Legislature passed House Bill 1154, the Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act, in 2013. This act created a class of crimes under which offenders can be prosecuted for the wrongful termination of a pregnancy, like in Surovik’s case, but did not affect abortion.
There were a few in the crowd with “Yes on 67” signs, but they were few and far between compared to the initiative’s opponents, who claim the proposal is dangerous.
“Put simply, Amendment 67 goes way too far,” said state Sen. Dan Pabon (D-Denver). Pabon said the language the amendment uses makes voting “yes” sound like a good idea, but this amendment would do the opposite of protecting women.
Former state Rep. Gloria Leyba said that, just after hearing the news that abortion was protected as a fundamental human right, she hugged her daughter, thrilled that her daughter would never have to share the Leyba’s 1973 experience of driving a friend to an illegal abortion.
MSU Denver Feminist Alliance President Cristine de la Luna also said the language was misleading.
“We must be allowed as voters to make informed choices in the political marketplace,” de la Luna said. She said Amendment 67 would ban some forms of birth control, like the pill and intrauterine devices, and that it would allow police to investigate miscarriages as a form of homicide.
Huerta complimented David Venegas, an MSU Denver freshman psychology major, for his shirt that read “this is what a feminist looks like.” Venegas said Amendment 67 is “outdated, and doesn’t reflect our modern time. It’s carrying momentum from the past.”
Julia Puckett, MSU Denver Feminist Alliance vice president, said Amendment 67 “goes way too far. Others’ beliefs and faith should not affect a woman’s medical decisions.” Puckett is a junior studying elementary education.
Along with Huerta, Pabon, Leyba, and de la Luna, speakers included Angelina Sandoval, a fellow at the Denver City Council; MSU Denver Journey Through Our Heritage student mentors Diana Chavez and Bianca Dominguez; Patricia Barela Rivera, former Colorado District director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Ramon del Castillo, chair of Chicano studies at MSU Denver.
All speakers stood against Amendment 67.