Anti-abortion rally attendees at the Capitol

Attendees at the Celebrate Life rally gather at the state Capitol on Jan. 11, 2020, to protest abortion and advocate for Initiative 120.

The Archdiocese in Denver is urging the faithful to get involved in a 15-day effort to collect more signatures for Initiative 120, which would ask voters to ban most abortions after 22 weeks if advanced to the November ballot.

The initiative, which the Catholic Church in Colorado is backing, needed 124,632 signatures, but came up slightly less than 10,000 signatures short. In cases where the secretary of state issues a statement of insufficiency, the proponents have a 15-day period to gather the signatures necessary to overcome the deficiency. The secretary’s office then has 10 days to review each additional signature. A judge delayed the cure period to May 15 because of the pandemic-related health orders.

“This is a chance to put restrictions on abortion in Colorado for the first time since 1967,” Deacon Geoff Bennett from Catholic Charities of Denver told the Denver Catholic, the archdiocese’s publication. “We need to defend life from conception until natural death. To not make a stand here would be tragic.”

The archdiocese explained that despite the initiative's backers in the “Due Date Too Late” campaign turning in 137,000 signatures, just over the required number, invalid and repeat signatures created the 10,000-signature gap.

“Currently, over 400 people have volunteered to gather the remaining signatures at between 80-90 signing locations,” the Denver Catholic reports. Signature collection will begin on Friday and run until May 28. The map of events contains clusters of circulation activity in Denver’s western and southern suburbs, and in El Paso County.

If passed, the initiative would not punish women receiving the abortion, but would cause providers to be guilty of a misdemeanor and have their licenses suspended. In a statement, Colorado Democratic Party chair Morgan Carroll criticized the state GOP for supporting the measure, saying that expanded access to contraception is a better alternative than mandating limits on abortions.

"Initiative 120 is a cruel, calculated proposed ballot measure that would put the Colorado government in OBGYN offices between patients and their doctors," she said. "The idea that the Colorado Republican Party would enthusiastically endorse an abortion ban that leaves no exception for cases of rape or incest is beyond the pale, but ultimately not surprising."

Editor's noteThis story has been updated with comment from the Colorado Democratic Party.

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