Colorado voters have rejected a measure that would have banned abortions after 22 weeks of gestation, except when there is a life-threatening medical emergency for the mother.
Proposition 115, also known as the 22-Week Abortion Ban Initiative, was defeated on Tuesday with about 59.07% of voters in the Centennial State voting against the measure and 40.93% voting in favor.
Lucy Olena, campaign manager for the No on 115 campaign, which opposed the ban, celebrated the result of the referendum in a statement published by The Denver Post.
“For the fourth time in 12 years, Coloradans have rejected attempts to ban abortion at the ballot, trusting patients and families to make the personal medical decisions that are right for them, without interference from politicians,” stated Olena.
Olena was referring to the multiple failed attempts to pass a much stricter abortion ban, known as the Personhood Amendment, via referendum in Colorado.
In June, the pro-life campaign Due Date Too Late gathered enough signatures to place Initiative 120, later renamed Proposition 115, on the November ballot.
The initiative was in response to the state legislature defeating two bills that would have banned late-term abortion and mandated medical care for babies born alive during the procedure.
“This measure places a reasonable restriction on abortion after the baby can live outside the mother’s womb, while still allowing a pregnant woman several months to make a choice about her pregnancy,” argues the Due Date Too Late website.
“This measure does not criminalize or penalize women in any way. With the Initiative, the goal is to protect women and their babies, give them better options and help them in their difficult circumstances.”
Last month, the American Politics Research Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder released a survey finding that 45% of voters opposed Proposition 115. While 41% said they supported the proposition, 14% were unsure.
In addition to pro-choice critics, Colorado Right to Life also denounced Proposition 115, arguing in a statement posted to its website in September that the measure was “the latest in the nearly 50-year effort to regulate murder.”
“Proposition 115 states you cannot kill children older than 22 weeks which inherently legitimizes (i.e., declares legally valid), reauthorizes and reaffirms the killing of younger children,” the group argued in a Sept. 26 statement.
“Decades of lost opportunity have passed while regulations have made the slaughter seem more palatable and more humane to the public, politicians, and judges, and pro-lifers have been unwittingly redirected to mending abortion rather than fighting to end abortion.”
Prominent pro-life activist Lila Rose, president of the national pro-life organization Live Action, urged the people of Colorado to support Proposition 115.
"This measure would ban the killing of babies after 22 weeks & bring the state closer to complete legal protection for preborn children," she wrote on Twitter.