Colorado pro-life advocates received a deadline extension last week on their effort to collect signatures to protect unborn babies from late-term abortions.
The Due Date Too Late campaign hopes to gather enough valid voter signatures to include Initiative 120, a late-term abortion ban, on the November ballot. In Colorado, unborn babies may be aborted for any reason up to birth, and women across the country travel there for late-term abortions.
The Denver Post reports a judge ruled Thursday that the pro-life campaign will have an additional 15 days to collect signatures once the state ends its emergency stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s just very important that we make sure that we don’t get out there and collect signatures until after the government has locally deemed that safe and appropriate for us to do so,” said Lauren Castillo, a spokeswoman for the campaign.
She said they feel confident that they will collect the additional 9,000 signatures necessary within that time frame.
“The bipartisan support for this initiative thus far has shown that Coloradans want to see an end to” late-term abortions, she said.
The ballot measure would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks when babies are viable outside the womb. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk.
Colorado is very liberal politically, and pro-life advocates have had a difficult time passing even moderate abortion restrictions there. Even fetal homicide laws to punish criminals who kill unborn babies in situations unrelated to abortion have been repeatedly rejected by the state legislature.
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However, 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.
Pro-life advocates need at least 124,632 valid signatures from registered voters for Initiative 120 to be included on the ballot. In March, they submitted more than 135,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State.
On Monday, however, the Secretary of State announced that it counted only 114,647 valid signatures, according to CPR News. Pro-life advocates will have an additional 15 days to collect the 9,985 signatures necessary for the ballot measure to qualify.
According to the pro-life campaign, they have a team of 200 volunteers and paid workers who plan to collect the signatures once the stay-at-home order is lifted. Currently, the date is April 11, but it could change.
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.”
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.”