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Rev. Dawn Duval

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Amendment 62: Insulting, Hurtful and Demeaning

Posted: 10/19/10 06:59 PM ET

As a woman, as a mother of two toddlers, and as an ordained minister, I find Amendment 62 offensive. I find it insulting, hurtful and demeaning.

Amendment 62 on the Colorado ballot is this year's version of so-called "Personhood," and it seeks to extend legal and constitutional rights to fertilized eggs. The truth about Amendment 62 is that it eliminates a woman's right to make private decisions about her body, her health, and her future. Amendment 62 assumes that women are not smart enough -- it assumes that we are not competent enough, or strong enough, or compassionate enough, or trustworthy enough - to make personal decisions concerning our bodies or our reproductive health.

The proponents of Amendment 62 want to outlaw abortion and access to emergency contraception -- including for women and girls who have been brutally raped, or have been assaulted by family members. They want to ban common forms of birth control, including IUDs and the Pill.

Amendment 62 takes an extremely stressful, personal decision and puts it under public surveillance.

Last weekend the NAACP Colorado State Conference weighed in with strong, unwavering opposition to Amendment 62. In doing so, the NAACP joined forces with more than 60 other state and national groups representing doctors, nurses, medical researchers, faith leaders, attorneys and health advocacy organizations. As NAACP State Conference President Beatrice Madison noted, "This is not about the morality, the right and wrong; this is about upholding the constitution, and a woman's constitutional right to choose. This is about ensuring that all women maintain the right to that choice, especially women who are low-income. Reproductive rights should not belong only to the wealthy but to all of us."

Let there be no doubt, this is a civil rights issue. This audacious invasion is not civil, and it is not right. This is an issue of personal freedom. Who should make the choice concerning a woman's body, her reproductive health, her future? Should politicians or religious leaders force women to have children? Should politicians or religious leaders prevent women from using technology to build a family? Or is the decision to be made by a woman, her loved ones, her doctor and God?

A society that forces a woman to reproduce against her will -- a society that prevents a woman and doctors from using advances in technology -- is not civil. That society is not right.

As an ordained minister, over the years, I have counseled numerous pregnant women who have been physically, emotionally, psychologically abused by their partner. Often the women say that they don't want to have children because they are terrified for the child's safety. What should these women do?

At the churches where I've worked, many women have entered the doors in tears, informing clergy that they are pregnant and cannot afford a baby or that they don't have a support system to help care for a baby. What should these women do?

As a faith leader, I must share with you the main reason that Amendment 62 chaps my hide: It assumes that proponents of Amendment 62 have dibs on faithfulness to God. It assumes that passing Amendment 62 will please the Most High God.

But not all Christians, or -- perhaps more accurately, all people of faith -- believe that this intrusive, oppressive legislation pleases God.

We are not simple. We cannot be tricked. We will not be bamboozled. God gifted us with free will. And Amendment 62 attempts to usurp our God-given free will. Amendment 62 trumps our God-given right to make choices. But thanks be to God our freedom, our liberty given to us by God, politicians cannot -- and fringe groups such as the one promoting Amendment 62 will not -- take these away.

They didn't take our rights two years ago, when similar efforts to extend legal and constitutional rights to fertilized eggs failed with a nearly 3-1 margin in Colorado. And they won't take our rights this year. They won't take our rights in the next election, or the next, or the next, or the next ...

Together we will win. That's right, together we will win. Because the health and future of women, children and families in Colorado depends on this victory.