A campaign for a proposed Colorado ballot initiative that would define the unborn as persons who are beneficiaries of all the protections of the U.S. Constitution has been revived by an extraordinary effort from volunteers who collected an average of two signatures a minute 24 hours a day for weeks to make up for a shortfall.

“This is a show of force and flies in the face of the liberal media that declared we were dead or dying,” said spokesman Keith Mason of Personhood USA, which has been working to launch ballot efforts in a number of states, including Florida, California, Montana, Mississippi and Missouri.

Mason said the campaign in Colorado today turned in almost 47,000 additional signatures on top of the 79,000 submitted to state officials earlier. The state, however, invalidated 20 percent of the signatures partly because of an unannounced rule change. That left the group about 16,000 signatures short of the 76,000 required to put an initiative on the ballot.

“We knew we had to get way more because of the bureaucratic gymnastics that we have been put through,” Mason said.

He noted the Colorado secretary of state dismissed one-third of the signatures because the law had been changed so notaries no longer would use “personal knowledge” as a way to identify a signer.

That issue may become the subject of a lawsuit eventually, he suggested. A team of lawyers was being assembled to look at the changes.

Mason said that not only was the law not announced to notaries working with the campaign, but the supervisor of the notary section of the secretary of state’s office also was unaware of it.

“The current instruction booklet for notaries says ‘personal knowledge’ is acceptable,” he said.

A previous vote on the issue in Colorado failed, but supporters point out such proposals frequently face an uphill fight against the established media and political influences at the beginning. Mason said he was very pleased this year because instead of using paid signature collectors, the campaign used all volunteers, who actually collected more signatures than before.

He said the campaign’s biggest obstacle across the nation has not been a reluctance on the part of voters to support the plan but lawsuits by those with vested financial interests in the abortion industry, such as the nation’s leading player in that arena, Planned Parenthood.

WND has reported how the move is exploding among pro-life activists and that potentially dozens of states are expected to address some sort of “personhood” vote this year – whether through a constitutional amendment or law.

The effort’s goal ultimately is to nullify the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling from 1973 in which justices ruled the Constitution gives women a right to an abortion.

Gualberto Garcia Jones is director of Personhood Colorado and a legal analyst for Personhood USA, a grass-roots Christian organization that seeks to legally define every unborn baby as a “person” protected by God-given and constitutionally protected rights, including the right to life.

“If we can get a challenge up to the Supreme Court, then that’s the ideal thing. That’s what we’re trying to do,” he has told WND

The personhood approach within the pro-life movement was sparked by a statement in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in the majority opinion, “The appellee and certain amici [pro-lifers] argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

According to the movement, if every unborn baby is defined as a person, each baby will be legally guaranteed the same right to life as all Americans.

Personhood USA co-founder Keith Mason told WND, “We believe – and a lot of the justices on the Supreme Court agree with us – that there is no right to privacy that would allow abortion,” Garcia Jones said. “Since it’s not mentioned directly in the 14th Amendment, we could use the 10th Amendment and the states’ rights to police themselves and to pass laws regulating morality and health and safety to regulate abortion so it’s not permitted. Basically it would be treated the same way as a homicide, where a state can regulate how they punish it and how they try to prevent it, but they could never allow it.”

He continued, “We believe respect for life is in the Constitution, so therefore a state could never say you can kill a person.”

Other states where previous votes were unsuccessful were Montana and North Dakota. But the Los Angeles Times reported the votes were so close abortion-business advocates were alarmed.

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