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April 15, 2015 03:05 PM UTC

You Can't Spell "Justice" with "Personhood"

  • 5 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Senate President Bill Cadman (R).
Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

After weeks of internal discussions, State Senate President Bill Cadman introduced legislation yesterday that would change the definition of a “person” to include “an unborn person at every stage of gestation.” In other words, Personhood, the same general idea that Colorado voters have rejected like John Andrews reading a Log Cabin Republican application.

Cadman was interviewed this week by Denver Post reporter John Frank for a segment on “Denver Post TV,” and the Colorado Springs Republican must have said the word “justice” about 700 times in less than 5 minutes (no, seriously, watch it yourself). Unfortunately for Cadman, repeating the word “justice” doesn’t make his legislation (SB15-268) any more noble than repeating the word “Beetlejuice” will resurrect the ghost of Michael Keaton.

This is the point in the story where we could cut-and-paste the definition of “justice” from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but that’s a trite cliche that is not only unnecessary, but largely irrelevant when it comes to discussing SB-268. This legislation, titled “Concerning Offenses Against an Unborn Child,” is an attempt by Republicans to take another shot at getting “Personhood” on the books in Colorado; first, foremost, and everything else in between.

This bill, and the latest incarnation of this entire discussion, is the result of a horrific crime committed against a pregnant woman named Michelle Wilkins. But it does not right any wrongs. It does not fix any holes in the law. And it certainly won’t give Wilkins any more justice than she rightfully deserves. The alleged assailant in Longmont, Dynel Lane, is facing eight felony charges laid out by Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, as the Denver Post reported last month:

Dynel Lane, suspected of luring an expectant mother to her Longmont home last week and cutting out her unborn child, was charged Friday with eight felony counts in the attack, including first-degree unlawful termination of pregnancy…

…Lane, 34, also faces a charge of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. Prosecutors also filed two counts of a crime of violence against Lane, which are sentence enhancers…

…Garnett said the counts filed are ones they believe they can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“She could get a very long sentence and very well die in prison,” Garnett said of Lane. [Pols emphasis]

 

In 2013, the Colorado Legislature passed the “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act,” a carefully balanced approach to increasing penalties for crimes against pregnant women while also protecting them from prosecution and essentially outlawing abortion altogether. Cadman proclaims loudly that this is not enough — that we need more laws on the books so that we can enact extra justice that won’t do anything to change the past or the future for anyone involved in the March 18 attack.

Will Dynel Lane be punished for her crimes? Is justice served if Lane spends the rest of her life in prison? Is this “justice” any more or less real because of the wording used in the criminal charges against her?

Inaction — or action — by the Colorado legislature WILL NOT SET LANE FREE. Let’s not forget this very important point. It is natural for elected officials to feel an over-inflated sense of importance during the fast-paced legislative session, and Cadman and his allies no doubt see this as a political opportunity that could help create a law (Personhood) that Coloradans do not want. This is our elected legislature we are talking about — we don’t give them judicial authority for a very good reason, and that shouldn’t change now.

So call this brazen legislative attempt whatever you want, even if you refuse to call it what it is.

Just don’t call it justice.

Comments

5 thoughts on “You Can’t Spell “Justice” with “Personhood”

  1. Quoth Pols:

    It is natural for elected officials to feel an over-inflated sense of importance during the fast-paced legislative session…

    What’s the excuse the other 245 days?

  2. The public does not agree. The public is shocked that Lane will not face murder charges. It’s time to stop playing Personhood games and support justice for Aurora Wilkins.

  3. Sorry, Mods, but the public does not agree with you. The public, moreover is savvy enough to understand that the Michelle Wilkins case is being used without Ms. Wilkins’ consent, to further a political agenda. And the public seems to find that disgusting.

    Colorado voters have twice rejected the idea that fetii are persons under the law. Weirdly, we do consider corporations to be persons, with money as their protected “speech”.

    So rejoice!

    1.You got one of your Republican protected classes declared a person, and its the one that pays the bills. Fetuses don’t have wallets, can’t sign checks.

    2.Unlawful termination of a pregnancy is considered to be a crime, and has been for several years now. We can hold hands across the aisles and sing a bipartisan “Kumbayah” on that one.

    We will never agree that abortion is murder, nor that the potential life trumps the value of the actual living, breathing mother. We will never agree that decision making power over whether to carry a pregnancy to term rests primarily with the one doing the carrying. Barring a pro-birth takeover of the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land.

  4. The Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act of 2013 would appear to cover this situation, to the extent that it should be covered. Colorado voters have rejected Personhood initiatives three times by overwhelming margins.

    Yet the radical right wing religious fanatics of Personhood USA and their fellow travelers within the religious right will stop at nothing to impose their dogma and ideology on all Colorado citizens.

    Mamajama and I may disagree on certain things like school boards. I will take her comment about Roe v. Wade a step further. Not only will a pro-birther Supreme Court attack Roe; it’s also likely they’d go after Griswold v. Connecticut, to do away with rights to buy and use contraception. A number of groups have Griswold in their sights (Americans United for Life, Personhood USA, American Life League, hierarchy of the Catholic Church, among others).

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