Colorado Marks 40 Years of Abortion With the Nation’s First Legalization

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 25, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Marks 40 Years of Abortion With the Nation’s First Legalization Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 25
, 2007

Denver, CO ( — Colorado was the first state in the country to legalize abortion 40 years ago yesterday, in a move that made it one of the only states to allow abortions prior to the Roe v. Wade decision toppling the pro-life laws of most states.

Former Gov. John Love, a Republican, signed into law the nation’s first legal abortion law dedicated to the proposition that all men are no longer created equal.

Future Democratic Governor Richard Lamm, then a freshman state legislator, was the leading lawmakers behind the measure.

Prior to approving the bill, the state allowed abortions only to save the life of the mother or prevent major bodily injury and, in 1966, Denver General Hospital did the only abortion in the state.

The Rocky Mountain News reported that the bill was snuck into the legislative debate on a day when Lt. Gov. Mark Hogan, a pro-life Catholic, was out of town and could not assign it to a committee that would have likely killed it. They were able to get the measure to a panel chaired by a co-sponsor.

Pro-life advocates in Colorado marked the day in mourning saying it was shameful that their state helped usher in unlimited abortions that have resulted in the deaths of more than 41 million unborn children and injuring millions of women.

Mary Rita Urbish, one of the early pro-life advocates in the state, remembers the day and told the Rocky Mountain News she was so ashamed and upset.

"I was so angry," she said. "It’s like a continuous loop in my mind that just runs and runs and runs and runs. It makes me mad to think about it, even now, 40 years later."

"What went on that day was, in my view, disgraceful," she said. "We (as Americans) had not deliberately planned to kill innocent human beings . . . To hear it in a formal hearing was more than I could stand . . . It was disgraceful – besides being outrageous and all the rest of it."

Urbish and pro-life advocates collected 10,000 signatures urging Love to veto the measure and held a march at the statehouse.

After Love signed the bill, the number of abortions skyrocketed.

There were 141 legal abortions recorded in 1967 and it increased to 476 the next year.

Other states followed suit in allowing abortions before Roe including California, Oregon, New York and Maryland.