Ban on most late-term abortions rejected
A ban on most abortions at 22 weeks or more of pregnancy was defeated Tuesday night as voters rejected the fourth attempt since 2008 to more strictly regulate abortions in Colorado.
About 1.6 million voters, or 59.2%, rejected Proposition 115 with 83% of the votes counted, while 1.1 million, or 40.8%, supported it.
Supporters, who said they had strong grassroots support, were vastly outnumbered by opponents. Supporters spent $505,488, compared to nearly $9 million for opponents, according to the Colorado News Collaborative’s FollowtheMoneyCO project.
The ballot measure would have subjected doctors even attempting to perform a term abortion to misdemeanor charges and at least a three-year suspension of their license. The only exception would have been for an abortion immediately necessary to save the woman’s life.
“This measure bears no relation to previous attempts to pass personality amendments in Colorado, which would have banned all abortions,” said Giuliana Day with Due Date Too Late, an organization that has campaigned for the ‘initiative.
Day said opponents used scare tactics to sway voters, even though the proposal was a reasonable restriction and a human rights issue.
However, those campaigning against Proposition 115 said it would have undermined women’s rights to reproductive health.
“For the fourth time in 12 years, Coloradans have rejected attempts to ban abortion on the ballot, trusting patients and families to make the personal medical decisions that are right for them, without interference from politicians,” said Lucy Olena, campaign manager for the No. on Campaign 115, said in a statement.
Colorado was the first state in the country to decriminalize abortion, passing a law in 1967 to allow the procedure in cases of rape, incest, if the woman’s health was threatened or if the unborn child could have birth defects.
The vote on abortion restrictions came as the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett at the United States Supreme Court raised the stakes for the fate of Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized the abortion. Barrett has been involved with organizations opposed to abortion.
Abortions later in pregnancy represent only about 1.3% of all abortions, said Karen Middleton, president of Cobalt, a Colorado organization that advocates for abortion access and reproductive rights. . She said abortions are performed when a woman’s health is in danger or when something is wrong with the unborn child.
“The proposal is designed to sound reasonable, but it’s not,” Middleton said. “What you’re doing is inserting an arbitrary line and essentially putting politics in the doctor’s office and in the decision of a family.”