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Colorado Ballot Initiative 120: The Next Steps toward Banning Late-Term Abortions
Kristin Vail | 23 July 2020
The 22-week abortion ban is officially on the November 2020 ballot in Colorado, only 1 of 7 states where abortion is legal up to birth for any reason. After learning in April the number of valid signatures collected fell short of the required threshold, the Due Date Too Late campaign was given an additional 15 days to collect the roughly 10,000 signatures still needed. This "Cure Period" began on May 15th and ended with volunteers turning in 48,329 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State on May 29th.(1) After a hand count, 38,557 of those signatures were validated, and on June 8th, Secretary of State Jena Griswold informed the Initiative 120 Committee there were a total of 153,204 signatures. This exceeded the approximately 124,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot. After countless hours of hard work by around 1500 volunteers, this late-term abortion ban will be on every voter's ballot in Colorado this November.(2)
The next step in getting the abortion ban passed has already begun; educating voters on why they should vote yes to ban abortions after 22 weeks. New Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with a website, were created for this effort.(3) The website includes short answers to frequently asked questions about the initiative and late-term abortions. Groups in Colorado are currently working on more in-depth information to respond to concerns about or objections to the ban.
To get more support for this initiative, a list of contact information for almost 1000 churches of all denominations across Colorado was created. Volunteers are going down the list and calling all the churches to get them involved. We are asking if they would be willing to talk to their congregations about Initiative 120 and encouraging them to vote yes in November. We are also connecting them with more information about the initiative. Part of the effort has also been to train people to register people to vote. The plan is to hold voter registration drives at churches and other locations around the state before the November election.
Catholic leadership continues to support this initiative. The bishops in Colorado released a letter urging voters to support this ban saying:
“We, the bishops of Colorado, implore Coloradans— especially the Catholic faithful— to vote for the late-term abortion ban during the November elections. We are placing the late-term abortion ban under the patronage of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, “Mother Cabrini,” given her role in helping orphaned children and immigrants in Colorado."(4)
Since only a small percentage of abortions in Colorado are performed after 22 weeks, this initiative may not seem especially important. But even this small percentage is almost 300 abortions every year in the state.(5) Some of the stories behind these numbers are heartbreaking, including a couple that made the news several years ago. In 2013, a couple came from Nebraska to Warren Hern in Boulder to get an abortion on their 25-week old baby boy. An MRI showed he was missing a portion of his brain; thus, they decided on abortion. After the abortion, it was discovered that a portion of the baby's skull was left, cutting into the woman's uterus. Because of this, she had to have a hysterectomy. The couple then sued Hern for malpractice. “Their attorney, Terry Dougherty of Lincoln, alleges Hern had failed to warn her of the increased risks and negligently misrepresented that the fetus had been entirely removed.”(6)
Unfortunately, the court decided against the couple in this case and found Hern not guilty of malpractice.(7) Now this couple has a baby that was killed by abortion and cannot have children of their own. And Warren Hern continues to abort babies in Boulder, both those that are healthy and those with terminal diagnoses. People should be visiting Colorado for the beautiful parks and forests, not for late-term abortions. Hopefully, this will change in November when Coloradans vote yes on the 22-week ban.
The full text of the initiative.
Social Media Coordinator - Democrats for Life of Colorado
Sidewalk Advocacy Coordinator - Denver Pro-Life Future