Colorado Pro-Life Ballot Proposal Would Ban Late-Term Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Pro-Life Ballot Proposal Would Ban Late-Term Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 6, 2006

Denver, CO ( — Pro-life advocates in Colorado have put together a referendum they hope can make it onto the November 2006 ballot that would prohibit abortions after the point of viability when an unborn children can survive on its own outside the womb.

The idea is the brainchild of Denver attorney Mike Lawrence and Tim Dore, the director of the Colorado Catholic Conference. The abortion ban would only have an exception in rare cases when the life of the mother is at stake or there is a chance she could develop a serious injury.

The proposal would make it a felony for an abortion practitioner to perform an abortion on a viable unborn child or to do an abortion with "reckless disregard" by not determining if the baby can survive outside the womb.

"It’s meant to have a mild effect," Lawrence told The Denver Post. "It is not meant to prohibit women from access to abortion. It simply tells them, ‘If you’re going to have an abortion, do it in the first five months or so of pregnancy."’

In order to qualify for the November ballot, the sponsors of the initiative need 68,000 signatures from Colorado residents.

Should it qualify, the pro-life measure can expect significant opposition from abortion advocates.

Crystal Clinkenbeard of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains told AP, "We’re very concerned that under this initiative, a doctor could be convicted of a felony for acting in the best interests of her patient."

Kathryn Wittneben, executive director of NARAL’s Colorado group told the Post it, too, would oppose the late-term abortion ban.

Dore told Post his involvement in the initiative is person and not done on behalf of his position with the Catholic Conference, which lobbies in favor of pro-life legislation at the state capitol.

"We’re looking at human life that can survive outside the womb," Dore said. "I don’t think anyone would say we should destroy human life at that point when it can survive on its own or with even a little assistance."

Lawrence said he hopes to quickly put together a coalition of pro-life groups to work to obtain the necessary signatures.

Warren Hern of Boulder, one of the few late-term abortion practitioners in the country, said the measure is targeted at him. He told the Denver newspaper he performs late-term abrotions in cases when the unborn baby has severe deformities and he accused the sponsors of wanting to ban all abortions in Colorado.

According to NARAL, 39 states ban abortions after the point of viability, which is normally considered to be between 22-24 weeks into pregnancy, depending on the health of the baby and the medical care needed.

In Colorado, 2.4 percent of the 7,757 abortions that took place in 2002 were on unborn children 21 weeks or older.

Colorado was one of a handful of states to legalize abortion prior to the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision.