COLORADO SPRINGS — Anti-abortion advocates in Colorado are bringing another ask to voters, hoping to make the state the 44th to pass abortion restrictions.
Their request, as written in Proposition 115, is to ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy.
“We’ve tried in Colorado to ban abortion all the way to the very earliest stages and we have not been successful, so we believe that proposition 115 is a common sense measure,” said Julie Bailey, Vice President of Pikes Peak Citzens for Life and Director of the Respect Life Apostolate of the Diocese of Colorado Springs.
Bailey and a few other supporters of the measure set up a display of hundreds of baby representing abortions that happen after 22 weeks or pregnancy. She says the group plans to donate the shoes at a later date.
170 such procedures took place in 2019, well under the five-year average of 270.6 since 2015, according to data on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website. CDPHE data shows procedures in that time frame account for 2.9 percent of procedures over that five-year period, but includes a disclaimer which says the procedures are likely under reported.
“It’s common sense to believe if a child can live outside of the mother’s body, there shouldn’t be an ability to kill that child,” said Bailey. At 22 weeks, she said, a fetus can live outside of the womb.
Bailey and other supporters also say 22 weeks is when a fetus can start feeling pain, though medical professionals say that doesn’t happen until the third trimester of pregnancy.
Opponents of Proposition 115 say the measure is too restrictive because it does not allow exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, or the health of the mother. The only exception the measure allows, if passed, is if the mother’s life is at risk.
Bailey said she thinks the exceptions allowed by Proposition 115 are fair.
“Most genetic testing, things that would identify fetal abnormalities, happen prior to the 18-week point. So, most pregnancies you would know well ahead of the 22-week point if there was a fetal abnormality,” she said
Rabbi Joseph Black is one of 130 interfaith leaders across the state to sign on in opposition of Proposition 115.
“This is something that obviously should not be taken lightly by an individual, but it obviously should not be legislated by the government. I think that is a very dangerous step,” said Black, Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Denver.
Additonal opponents, as described in the text of the state’s blue book, are concerned the proposition “may force women to carry a non viable pregnancy to term” if the measure passes.
Black said he’s also worried this measure could lead to further degradation of women’s ability to maintain control of their own body, particularly given the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
“This is a very important and dangerous time for women’s healthcare in America,” Rabbi Black said.
“Every person has to make their own choice and this is going to legislate how women’s healthcare is delivered in Colorado. It’s discriminatory against women. It’s discriminatory against our ability to choose.”