Colorado Pro-Lifers Fight for More Time to Get Late-Term Abortion Ban on the Ballot

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 24, 2020   |   6:11PM   |   Denver, Colorado

Colorado pro-life advocates filed a lawsuit recently seeking more time to collect signatures for a ballot initiative to protect unborn babies from late-term abortions.

The Due Date Too Late campaign submitted more than 135,000 signatures in support of the ballot initiative to the Colorado Secretary of State earlier this month. To qualify for the November ballot, Initiative 120 needs at least 124,632 valid signatures from registered Colorado voters.

The lawsuit says pro-life advocates should have more time to collect signatures than what the state allows, according to Colorado Daily. The state deadline was March 4, but the lawsuit argues that, based on language in the Colorado Constitution, they should be allowed to collect signatures through Aug. 3.

Pro-life attorney Suzanne Staiert said they are waiting for the Secretary of State to verify the signatures that they submitted before moving forward with the lawsuit. If there are enough to qualify the ballot measure, she said they will drop the legal challenge.

Colorado is one of several states that allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth, and women across the country travel there for late-term abortions. The ballot measure would change that by prohibiting abortions after 22 weeks when babies are viable outside the womb. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk.

CPR News reports more about the ballot initiative:

Due Date Too Late collected 137,624 signatures, and after an initial randomized review, the Secretary of State’s office says the group has an estimated 97.51 percent of the 124,632 required signatures to make the ballot.

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The next step is for a line-by-line analysis, which the Secretary of State’s office has until April 4 to complete.

If the state finds that the campaign does not have enough signatures, then Due Date Too Late has 15 days to collect signatures and gather additional ones to meet the requirement.

Pro-life leaders expressed concerns about the possible need to collect more signatures during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’re just as excited and eager to hear the results as anyone else and are just kind of waiting to see what might impact it considering what’s currently happening with the coronavirus in the state,” said pro-life spokeswoman Lauren Castillo.

Colorado is very liberal politically, and pro-life advocates have had a difficult time passing moderate abortion restrictions in the state. Even fetal homicide laws to punish criminals who kill unborn babies in situations unrelated to abortion have been repeatedly rejected by the state legislature.

However, pro-life leaders believe a 22-week abortion limit could gain the support of moderate voters who do not think abortions should be outlawed but do support modest restrictions. Polls consistently show that most Americans oppose late-term abortions after a baby is viable.

A June Gallup found that 60% of Americans want all (21%) or almost all (39%) abortions made illegal. Similarly, a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found that just 6% of Americans said abortions should be allowed “up until the birth of the child.”

If the ballot measure passes, it could protect thousands of viable, late-term unborn babies from abortion. In 2015, there were 5,597 abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, the number almost certainly is higher. There are 11 states that do not report gestational age abortion data to the CDC.

Abortion lobbyists admit that most late-term abortions are done on healthy mothers carrying healthy babies. Guttmacher Institute statistics also confirm that “most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”