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Stefanie Clarke and Wendy Howell talk about the campaign against Prop 115, which would ban abortions after 22 weeks.

A group opposing Colorado’s latest anti-abortion proposal launched its website Wednesday with an infusion of big-name backers, including feminist Gloria Steinem and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. 

No on 115 also announced the endorsements of 200 groups including Black Lives Matter, Colorado Academy of Family Physicians and Men4Choice, as well as the support of faith leaders and individual health providers. 

“Our endorsements are growing by the minute,” said organizer Stefanie Clarke as she virtually navigated the new site. She called the legislation sneaky and intentionally confusing. “If you tried to read it like I have dozens of times, you need a Ph.D. to understand what it means,” Clarke said.

Prop 115, which has been gathering support since the beginning of the year, would ban abortions in Colorado after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Organizer Giuliana Day says she’s not surprised at the star-studded roll call. 

“They’re trying to rally the troops. But I feel our measure is reasonable,” she said. 

A group called Democrats for Life has come forward to back Prop 115, Day told Colorado Politics, adding, “Instead of focusing on getting endorsements, we are using our time communicating with the people and getting their support.” Day said the group has planned private fundraisers for this month. 

Prop 115 is the fourth attempt to restrict access to abortion in Colorado in recent years. Efforts in 2008, 2010 and 2014 all failed — the most recent, Amendment 67 in 2014, attempted to define a fetus as a person in the state constitution.

“It is unconscionable that they are trying this again, particularly in the midst of the greatest health and economic crisis in a century,” said Wendy Howell, acting state director of the Colorado Working Families Party. “Women are struggling just to survive and women of color are disproportionately impacted by both COVID-19 and the high unemployment rate it has created.” 

Colorado is one of seven states that doesn't put a gestational limit on when a woman can get an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Both campaigns claim to be grassroots. Latest fund-raising numbers show that as of July 27 (the most recent reporting period), No on 115 is outraising the ballot proponents with $603,906 compared with$110,179 in Prop 115’s coffers. 

No on 115 has received money from Cobalt (formerly NARAL Pro-choice Colorado), from the American Civil Liberties Union and from Planned Parenthood; whereas most of Prop 115’s cash has come from the Coalition for Women and Children.

According to the CDPHE in 2019 abortion providers in Colorado reported 136 “induced terminations” at 22 weeks of pregnancy, which is 1.5% of the total. Day discounts these numbers, though, because she says the information is given voluntarily, estimating that if women were required to report abortions after 5½ months, she estimates the number would be closer to 5%. 

Kirk Bol, CDPHE’s Manager of the Statistics Program, agrees that their numbers may be skewed down, telling Colorado Politics in an email that “it should be noted that we believe induced terminations in Colorado to be underreported,” adding, “We don't know the true extent of potential underreporting, nor the differential impact on various gestational ages.”

Note: This article has been updated to correct a quote from Wendy Howell.

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