Members of our Community Editorial Board, a group of community residents who are engaged with and passionate about local issues, respond to the following question: Colorado voters will be asked in the Nov. 3 election to decide whether or not to ban abortions after 22 weeks. Your take?
Vote no on Proposition 115. It is an inhumane measure which would force doctors to turn their backs on patients in some of the most painful situations imaginable. Abortions after 22 weeks comprise just 1 percent of abortions, but this restriction would cost lives and cause enormous human suffering in the rare cases when parents and doctors decide that the pregnancy should not continue.
This ban has no exception for ending pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and survivors of such trauma may need some additional time to make the decision to terminate their pregnancies, perhaps due to pressure from their abusers or because they are too young to recognize the early signs of pregnancy. We must protect survivors of rape and incest, not revictimize them by forcing them to bear their abusers’ children, especially when they are children themselves.
The majority of abortions after 22 weeks are wanted pregnancies. They occur when the ultrasound that typically happens at about 20 to 22 weeks reveals that the fetus has significant genetic abnormalities that are incompatible with life or that would result in a short and painful life.
These types of abnormalities are typically not detectable close to the 22 week mark or even later. Forcing parents to bring the pregnancy to term and deliver a stillborn or watch their child suffer a painful death is unconscionable. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
This ban could cost lives by hamstringing doctors’ ability to effectively treat emergency conditions that arise later in a pregnancy. There is an exception for abortions that are necessary to save the life of the parent if it is in imminent physical danger, but that puts doctors in the untenable position of needing to be 100 percent certain that without the abortion, their patient would die.
If you were begging a doctor to save your life, would you want them to waste precious moments weighing whether they’ll be able to defend their decision in a court of law? What is pro-life about that?
Jane Hummer, [email protected]
Vote “no” on Proposition 115, which seeks to ban abortions after 22 weeks. This proposition is flawed to its core, and, if enacted, would force women to carry unwanted pregnancies and non-viable fetuses to term and strip all women of their rights in Colorado.
There is no medically necessary reason to ban abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy. None. This is just another attempt at government interference with women’s lives. To make matters worse, Prop 115 has no exceptions to this ban for rape, incest, or emotional or psychological conditions of the mother.
It seems insane to me that nearly 50 years after Roe v. Wade was decided, and with widespread support for abortion access from citizens within both political parties, that we have to re-litigate women’s rights to full citizenship every year with a vocal minority.
Coloradans have rightly rejected abortion bans three times in the last 12 years because no one, man or woman, wants the government deciding what types of medical treatment we receive. Nor do we want those decisions second guessed by government officials or local law enforcement (which would be possible if Prop 115 were enacted).
The entire purpose of denying women access to abortion is the relegation of women to second-class citizens. I fully understand that many in the anti-choice movement have genuine and deeply held personal beliefs about abortions. But these beliefs are personal to them, and should not be forced upon the rest of us.
We Coloradans believe in the American ideal of equality and equal protection under the law. Proposition 115 is a direct assault on that ideal because it will impose the requirement of pregnancy, no matter the cost or outcome, on women.
Colorado has it right and there is no reason to change the law. Let’s keep the decision of an abortion where it rightfully belongs, with the woman directly affected by the pregnancy. Say “no” to Prop 115.
Doug Hamilton, [email protected]
We should not criminalize any aspect of abortion. Proposition 115 aims to infringe upon a pregnant person’s right to make a highly personal decision with her health care provider.
Additionally, “late term” pregnancy is a political construct and a boogeyman. The 22-week mark is arbitrary. I saw a satire headline recently that depicted a French’s billboard with a fetus and the headline said: “This baby can taste French’s signature sweet and tangy mustard, does he deserve to die?” That’s how ridiculous this proposition sounds to me.
Proponents of this measure are arguing that it’s a good thing that it only criminalizes the provider and not the pregnant person who receives the procedure. News flash: Criminalizing anyone in the equation is still making the act criminal.
This is akin to why the Nordic model of decriminalizing sex work is bad. The Nordic model criminalizes the purchase, but not the sale of sex. Proposition 115 is the Nordic model of abortion, and it is terrible.
Stop trying to criminalize abortion, folks. Let’s focus on eradicating poverty and making conditions more livable. Admit that you are not pro life, you are just trying to control other people’s decisions about their own bodies.
In a paper published in 2013 by Foster & Kimport, it was found that reasons for late term abortions (not due to health reasons) had to do with logistical challenges, such as finding a provider and securing the necessary funds. Make abortion more accessible to all people who choose the procedure, and you may find that most do happen earlier.
Emily Duffy, [email protected]
When I was younger, I was a one-issue voter on abortion. I couldn’t conceive of a law that would force a woman to carry a baby to term. It was her body and her business.
Especially in cases of rape or the safety of the mother, I couldn’t see things any other way. With age, though, hopefully, comes at least some wisdom and now I see the world is gray, not the black and white of my idealistic youth.
As with gun control, this is an issue that will never be resolved among the most extreme on each side. If someone believes that at the moment of conception a full human being exists, then they will never be okay with abortion at any time, for it would be pure murder in their eyes.
On the other extreme are the pro-choice advocates who are okay with partial birth abortion. Many are not comfortable with such a thin line dividing legal abortion and first degree murder. Yet that is the law today.
The vast majority can agree on a reasonable compromise. The notion of compromise on fundamental beliefs is anathema, but in such a diverse society, compromise paves the road to civility.
Having a limit on how late an abortion can occur (with exceptions for the life of the mother) is reasonable. Partial birth abortion isn’t just unreasonable, it’s illogical. How can it be okay to kill a baby at one moment and less than a minute later it’s murder? The cognitive dissonance there is too great for most voters. Almost every other state has a limit on legal abortion as a result of this moral quandary. Colorado needs to resolve this as well.
With a new, conservative Supreme Court justice being nominated, the issue of abortion invokes passion. Even if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion in Colorado would remain unchanged. As a state, we’ve set our own rules on abortion and adjusting those rules to a reasonable compromise is wise.
Bill Wright, [email protected]