Proposed ban on late-term abortions in Colorado moves forward

Election

DENVER — A proposed ban on late-term abortions in Colorado moves closer to getting on the 2019 ballot Wednesday.

The state’s title board, made up of representatives from the Secretary of State’s, Attorney General’s, and director of legislative services’ offices, approved the preliminary ballot language and ruled the initiative met the state’s single-issue requirement.

Proponents of the initiative, tentatively being referred to as Initiative 108, said in the hearing they will be back to the title board with amended language to their proposal.

As it stands now, the initiative would create a class three felony charged to anyone who performs an abortion after 22 weeks of a pregnancy. There is no crime charged to the mother in the current text of the proposal.

It would also require the state’s medical board to revoke the license of a doctor who performs the procedure.

The only exception expressed in the initiative, is when a pregnant mother’s life is at risk.

“There is substantial evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by 22 weeks gestation,” the initiative says.

It also says “modern medical science has the ability to treat a child who is born alive at 22 weeks gestation.”

The proposed ballot measure includes a “provision for survival” where a doctor performing an abortion on a pregnant mother whose life is threatened by the pregnancy must “terminate the pregnancy in the manner which…. provides the best opportunity for a fetus to survive.”

The proposal comes as states like Alabama and Missouri have passed restrictive abortion bans. In Missouri, lawmakers passed a ban on abortion after eight weeks. Alabama’s lawmakers passed an all-out ban on abortions. Both make exceptions for medical emergencies and both have been met with lawsuits blocking the implementation.

“Coloradans have decisively rejected proposed abortion bans at the ballot box by huge margins three times already,” Sarah Taylor-Nanista, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in a statement. “That’s not going to change. Any ban or restriction on access to abortion care is harmful to our patients and to our communities, whether in Alabama, Missouri, or right here in Colorado. Medical decisions should be based in medical facts. Our patients’ lives are too important to let dangerous bans on health care access go unchallenged.”

Colorado is one of seven states that does not have time restrictions on abortions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Twenty-two weeks is around the end of the second trimester. The Centers for Disease Control reports 1.3% of abortions are performed 21 weeks or later in a pregnancy.

Before the proposal officially makes it onto the statewide ballot for 2019, supporters must gather 124, 632 signatures.

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