Colorado Proposition 115 and the State of Women’s Rights in America

Women’s rights have been under attack and suppressed for as long as history can date back. In the past four years especially, Americans have fought hard as a woman’s right to make choices about her own body has been at risk.

On the ballot this November in Colorado is Proposition 115 (formerly Initiative 120) which would ban abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions. This backdoor ban is dangerous due to the fact that it would make abortion illegal even in the case of rape, incest, risk to the mother’s life, or a lethal fetal diagnosis. 

To put this plainly: if a mother finds out her baby will not live to the due date, but she is past 22 weeks, abortion would be illegal forcing her to carry her deceased baby to term; if a woman is raped and discovers too late this resulted in a pregnancy, she would be forced to carry that baby to term.

Jack Teter, the political director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said, “This proposal would force a woman who learns later in her pregnancy that her pregnancy is developing with no brain or no lungs to pack a suitcase and get on an airplane and leave her family and her community and her support system behind to travel to another state that doesn’t criminalize access to healthcare.”

This ban would also disproportionally affect poor communities who already have obstacles in obtaining the most basic healthcare. Colorado has voted no on three abortion bans in the past 12 years; this is yet another attack on a woman’s right to choose.

Girl lying on bed alone Photo by _Mxsh_ on Unsplash According to the statute, any medical professional who attempts or performs an abortion would be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor and/or be revoked of their medical license for three years. This ban is nonsensical––only one percent of all abortion care includes late-term pregnancy abortions. There are simpler and less invasive steps that can be taken to reduce abortions in the state.

Rather than outlawing a choice that should be made solely between a woman and her doctor, the state should focus its energy on promoting knowledge on women’s health and providing more access to support women’s health. It has been shown that unwanted pregnancy rates drop significantly when there is increased access to contraceptives and methods of birth control, increased sexual health education, and continued or increased access to healthcare and family planning services.

Trish Zornio, a 2020 Colorado U.S. Senate candidate said, “In Colorado, the success of this approach was illustrated when access to IUDs prompted a 64% drop in teen abortion rates and an estimated $70 million saved in associated health care costs. The second strategy [abortion] applies when preventative measures are no longer possible.”

The bottom line is, we should be funding programs to increase awareness and knowledge on women’s health, all while supporting a woman’s, or a family’s, personal choice in when, and under what circumstances, to start or add to her family.