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Colo. Supreme Court clears way for ballot measure that would define fertilized egg as person
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    DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for an anti-abortion group to collect signatures for a ballot measure that would define a fertilized egg as a person.
    The court approved the language of the proposal, rejecting a challenge from abortion-rights supporters who argued it was misleading and dealt with more than one subject in violation of the state constitution.
    If approved by voters, the measure would give fertilized eggs the state constitutional protections of inalienable rights, justice and due process.
    ‘‘Proponents of this initiative have publicly stated that the goal is to make all abortion illegal — but nothing in the language of the initiative or its title even mentions abortion,’’ Kathryn Wittneben of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado said in a statement. ‘‘If that’s not misleading, I don’t know what is.’’
    Wittneben and others said the measure would have would hamper in-vitro fertilization and stem cell research and would effectively ban birth control.
    Proponents of the measure disagree.
    ‘‘It doesn’t outlaw abortion, it doesn’t regulate birth control,’’ said Kristi Burton, 20, of Colorado for Equal Rights. ‘‘It’s just a constitutional principle. We’re laying a foundation that every life deserves protection.
    Burton said the initiative would simply define a human.
    ‘‘It’s very clearly a single subject,’’ Burton said. ‘‘If it’s a human being, it’s a person, and hey, they deserve equal rights under our law.’’
    Colorado for Equal Rights must collect 76,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot. Supporters have six months to gather the necessary signatures — a deadline that began with the collection of the first signatures Tuesday, said Rich Coolidge, a spokesman for the secretary of state.
    Anti-abortion activists said similar voter-led initiatives or legislative efforts are under way in five other states, including Montana, Georgia, Oregon, Michigan and South Carolina.

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