In a move that has stunned abortion-rights advocates who pushed through a repeal of state criminal penalties last year, Colorado lawmakers have proposed a bill that “prohibits abortion and makes a violation a class 3 felony.”
HB 1133, sponsored by Republican Steve Humphrey of Severance, Colo., is a response to a move last year that critics said would make the state friendly to abortionists like Kermit Gosnell. The Philadelphia abortionist was convicted of killing infants after they had been born, mostly by using a scissors to snip their spinal cords.
Led by a Democrat-majority legislature, Democrat governor and Barack Obama’s agenda, the state surged left on several issues, including abortion. Last year, Democrats passed a bill supported by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, repealed criminal abortion statutes.
“I ran as a pro-life candidate and this is an issue that is important to my constituents,” Humphrey explained as he introduced the abortion-ban bill Thursday.
“I realize this is an emotional issue and my intent is not to rub someone’s nose in the issue, but when we’re talking about protecting human life this is a discussion we need to have,” he said.
Christy Rodriguez, executive director of Colorado Campaign for Life, said the left has made Colorado “a Kermit Gosnell-friendly state and we have to do something about it.”
Humphrey’s bill includes an exception for a doctor who accidentally causes the death of an unborn child while treating the mother. It also specifies that contraception is not illegal and states a pregnant mother is not subject to a criminal penalty.
The bill, which is supported by numerous other representatives, intends “to make the practice of abortion illegal in the state of Colorado” and to repeal all current laws and statutes that relate to abortion in the state.
While the Democrats hold a majority in the legislature, their margin in the Senate is a single seat. After last year’s session, voters recalled two Democrats for their support of stringent gun-control legislation and replaced them with Republicans.
A third Democrat lawmaker was forced to resign under the threat of a third recall campaign. If ex-Sen. Evie Hudak of Westminster had allowed the recall vote to run its course, she also could have been replaced by a Republican, which would have given the GOP a majority in the Senate.
Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper also is facing a tough re-election campaign this year.
The new bill is not limited to doctors and health care providers who perform abortions. It also provides criminal penalties for individuals who harm a woman with the intent to terminate a pregnancy. Additionally, a person driving a bicycle, low-power scooter, electric-assisted bicycle or motor vehicle in a reckless manner that results in the termination of a pregnancy could also be prosecuted under the legislation.
Pro-abortion groups already are up in arms about the bill.
“This bill could result in jailing doctors. A Class 3 felony is a minimum 4-12 year sentence,” said Karen Middleton with NARAL Pro-choice Colorado. “This bill is an insult to Colorado women and Colorado physicians, and out of touch with Colorado voters.”
“Let them rage. Right now we have unprecedented support by Colorado legislators for unborn babies,” she said.
“We’re going straight to these politicians on this issue. It is very clear that this current legislature ignores what voters want,” Rodriguez said. “Since we have had Democrat gun-grabbers recalled, this is now time to find out who our pro-life friends are and who the pro-abortion people are, and that goes on both sides of the aisle.
“This clears up who those who are truly pro-life from those who merely pretend to be. We need to know this as a party so we can put genuine pro-lifers in charge.”
Rodriguez said that if Democrats are upset about the bill, they have only themselves to blame.
Democrats also pursued a series of new restrictions on the Second Amendment last year. Passage of the laws drew a lawsuit from the sheriffs in the state and prompted at least one major weapons-parts manufacturer to move operations to a friendlier state.
Rodriguez said she personally knows the horror of having an abortion.
“I was one of those desperate women. Years ago I [had] an abortion in New York in downtown Manhattan. I know what it is like to be treated like cattle in an abortion mill,” Rodriguez said. “I also know coming through an abortion is one of the saddest and intense issues a woman has to go through. I have to live with the thought of knowing I killed another human being.”
Democrats in Colorado so far have stayed the course on their pro-abortion agenda, but the specter of more recall campaigns looms.
Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, one of the new bill’s co-sponsors, says it provides protection for the liberty of everyone as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
“I want to commend Rep. Humphrey for being a true pro-life champion and recognizing that all life is precious at all stages,” Saine said. “This provides the ultimate right to liberty to those who are the most vulnerable in our population. Without a right to life you can have no other rights including the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
The abortion advocates will not find the wording of the proposal reassuring.
“It is the intent of the general assembly to make the practice of abortion illegal in the state of Colorado,” the bill explains.
It sets out the requirements: “A person shall not knowingly administer to, prescribe for, procure for, or sell to a pregnant mother any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being. A person shall not knowingly use or employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant mother with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being.
“A violation of this section is a class 3 felony.”
It also specifies physicians who are a convicted also are determined to have committed unprofessional conduct.