News

Anti-abortion clamor at the Colorado capitol

State troopers confront a protestor.

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Bill Ritter stood on the west Capitol steps to voice his opposition to Amendment 48, a.k.a. the Personhood Amendment, which would define a fertilized egg as a person. (Read Westword's recent 48 coverage here and here.) But anti-abortion protester John Wiechec's voice was louder. He would yell out critical phrases when Ritter was speaking, forcing the governor to raise his voice to be heard, but never to alter his public position against the amendment.

The two men exchanged opinions in a sort of call-and-response manner:

"This is bad policy," said the governor.

"Liar!" bellowed Wiechec.

"This is bad medicine," Ritter continued.

"Liar!" answered Wiechec.

"And this is bad law," finished Ritter.

"That’s a lie," Wiechec hollered.

Colorado State Troopers confronted a group of five protestors, including twelve-year-old Isaac, who was taking a day off from being home-schooled, and asked them to quiet down. "We’re here to counter this," Isaac said with clear disgust as he pointed to the people on the Capitol steps.

But Wiechec didn’t quiet down. "Babies are people too!" he shouted while Eliza Buyers, an MD, explained the "bad medicine" part of the amendment.

That’s when he was arrested, still shouting as he was being led away.

As mothers and teachers often say, "Shouting is bad manners."

He appeared some fifteen minutes later, with reddened marks on his wrists and his arrest citation in hand. He missed the rest of the speeches. "I’d be more leery bout it [shouting] next time," he said calmly. "But I’m still gonna speak out for the babies."

And speak he shall, to a judge, at his November 7 court date. -- Elena Brown

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes