DENVER – Colorado voters will have a chance to weigh in on a proposal to ban abortions in the state after a set amount of time.
Proposition 115 would ban abortions after the fetus has reached the gestational age of 22 weeks, unless the life of the pregnant woman is threatened.
Currently, abortion in Colorado is legal at any time during a pregnancy. There is a restriction that specifies that parents or guardians of a minor wishing to have an abortion must receive written notification of the procedure at least 48 hours in advance (with some exceptions).
Colorado is one of seven states that do not restrict abortions after a certain point in pregnancy.
What would Proposition 115 do?
The measure would make it a class 1 offense for anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion after 22 weeks of gestation. The penalty would be a fine of $ 500 to $ 1,000.
The measure specifies that imprisonment is not permitted. Doctors who perform an abortion after 22 weeks would be considered unprofessional conduct. Doctors who broke the law will also have their licenses suspended for three years by the Colorado Medical Council.
The woman who has an abortion will not be punished, nor will the person who fills the prescription or provides the necessary equipment.
Arguments for Proposition 115
For proponents of Proposition 115, it is a measure to protect lives and impose what they consider reasonable restrictions on procedure.
“We are not taking away women’s rights, the choice to do what she decides to do during her pregnancy before 22 weeks,” said Giuliana Day, sponsor of the initiative.
The initiative does not allow women victims of rape or incest to have an abortion; however, Day says these women are allowed to make this decision until week 22 and this proposal would not bar it.
Proposition 115 specifies that an abortion after this period would only be allowed if the life of a pregnant woman is threatened by a physical disorder, illness or injury. However, it does not allow for an abortion to be sought for psychological or emotional conditions.
Day argues that this procedure is dangerous for both mother and child.
“This 22-week procedure is cruel, it is inhumane. We’re talking about the dismemberment of a baby, ”Day said.
The reason the group chose 22 weeks gestation is that this is when they believe a fetus is viable. Day believes Proposition 115 would put Colorado in line with the rest of the country and the rest of the world when it comes to abortion access.
The number of abortions performed in the state after 22 weeks is difficult to find. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) estimates that number is between 20 and 300 per year.
Day and others question these numbers and say these numbers are grossly underreported. They believe that a measure like this would stop 400 to 500 abortions per year.
Day believes this problem transcends party lines, beliefs and ideologies and says she wants people to talk about what’s going on in the state.
“It is a problem that can no longer be taboo or stigmatizing. We need to talk about abortions, especially late abortions, “she said.” This is the human rights issue of our life. “
Arguments against Proposition 115
Opponents of Proposition 115 believe that the decision whether or not to seek an abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor.
“Supporting. 115 is a universal abortion ban,” said Reverend Amanda Henderson, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. “It simplifies a very complex issue and the truth is that every pregnancy is unique and decisions about pregnancy should be made by a woman in consultation with her health care provider. “
Henderson is concerned that while this proposal may seem less extreme than laws in other states, it may be a slippery slope.
She doesn’t think this gives women enough time to make such a difficult decision, as the woman might need a second opinion or additional testing and travel or expense might be associated with the procedure.
Beyond that, she argues that this proposal would further harm marginalized communities by limiting their access to medical care.
For decades, says Henderson, Colorado has been a safe haven for women’s rights and access to make their own health decisions and she believes this law would undermine that.
Opponents of Proposition 115 are also concerned that it is part of a national effort to Roe vs. Wade.
“This is a very important electoral measure with huge consequences, especially after the changes we are seeing at the Supreme Court. We don’t have the support that we frequently have on threats to abortion rights and access, ”she said.
Henderson argues the move would not actually ban abortions, but criminalize them and force women to seek unsafe procedures elsewhere.
“I shouldn’t be pushing my values to someone else when it comes to making one of the toughest decisions that many people in these spaces have to make,” she said. .
The last word
Proposal 115 would not significantly affect state revenue or spending, according to a blue book analysis of the initiative.
The subject of the abortion ban is often touching and controversial.
It will be up to Colorado voters on Nov. 3 to decide whether the state should place limits on when these proceedings can and cannot take place.