Voters in Colorado failed to advance a "personhood" amendment that would have been on the ballot in the upcoming November elections.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced Wednesday that backers of the divisive "personhood" amendment fell about 3,900 valid signatures short of the 86,000 needed and ended the only pending measure in the nation to ban abortion in all circumstances this year.
While the failure to include the citizen initiative was a setback to anti-abortion advocates, Personhood USA, which is based in Colorado, has proposals set for future years, spokeswoman Jennifer Mason told AP.
Even with the current proposal rejected, officials from Personhood USA pledged to challenge the ruling in court due to charges that some of the signatures collected were improperly rejected.
"We are going to be filing to have those ballot signatures recounted, and we are confident personhood will be on ballots this fall," Mason said.
The controversy surrounding the so-called "personhood" amendments stem from the fact that those initiatives would go beyond current proposed abortion bans because they would give fertilized embryos all the rights of a human.
This would effectively ban embryonic-stem-cell research, some fertility treatments, as well as some forms of birth control. The measures have not been backed by all pro-life advocates, though.
Colorado had previously voted to reject other personhood proposals back in 2008 and 2010. A similar measure was also struck down in Mississippi earlier this year.
This development gave abortion advocates some talking points and Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Monica McCafferty said the results of the vote showed the changing attitudes towards abortion in America.
"This year they're not even getting people to sign on to the concept … Hopefully that signals that Coloradans understand the concept, that they don't like the outcome of what this would mean," McCafferty said in a statement.