The Colorado Secretary of State announced Monday that a ballot measure banning late-term abortions has made the November ballot.
Known by its backers as "Due Date Too Late," initiative 120 was initially rejected on April 3 for failing to gather enough signatures.
The measure fell short of the 124,632 verified signatures by about 10,000. However, a Denver District Court judge granted proponents an extension of time to collect enough signatures to "cure" the petitions, based on the COVID-19 pandemic. The cure period began on May 15 and ended at 3 p.m. on May 29.
According to the Secretary of State's election division, backers submitted an additional 48,689 signatures, of which 38,557 were determined to be valid. That put the measure over the top.
Initiative 120 will ask voters to ban abortions performed after the “gestational age” of the fetus reaches 22 weeks. There is an exception if the life of the mother is in danger.
Colorado was the first state in the nation to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest and for the health of the mother, back in 1967.
Initiative 120 is the seventh time in the past 14 years that anti-abortion advocates have tried to persuade Colorado voters to change state law on abortion.
In 2006, Initiative 80, which was also backed by the Catholic Church, got petitions approved but never turned in signatures. Two years later, the first of three ballot measures on personhood, which generally declared life began at the point of conception, was on the Colorado ballot. The 2008 measure failed on a 73.2% to 26.8% vote. In 2010, Amendment 62 lost 70.53% to 29.47%.
In 2012, another personhood initiative, number 46, turned in signatures but was declared insuficient because there were not enough valid signatures.
In 2014, voters rejected the most recent personhood initiative, Amendment 67, on a vote of 64.87% to 35.13%.
The issues committee Coalition for Women and Children is the major funder for the measure, with donations of $10,000 from Donald Hood of Worldviews, Calling and Culture, a Christian education nonprofit backed by LifeBridge Christian Center of Longmont and LifeChoice Pregnancy Center; and $5,000 from Jeff Coors of the conservative Coors family.
The committee raised more than $31,000 in the most recent reporting period, according to the Secretary of State's TRACER campaign finance database. The largest donation of $10,000 came from Kevin Heringer of Highlands Ranch, a longtime donor to Republican candidates and who is affiliated with Catholic Charities.
Suzanne Staiert, a Republican candidate for Senate District 27 who represents the backers, did not return a request for comment as of press time.
The Colorado Democratic Party in a statement said "despite Colorado voters of all affiliations rejecting abortion bans at the ballot three times in the past 12 years, Colorado Republicans and anti-choice proponents can’t seem to take ‘No’ for an answer. Make no mistake — Initiative 120 is a cruel, calculated proposed ballot measure that would put the Colorado government in OBGYN offices between patients and their doctors.
"120 allows for no exceptions for cases of incest, rape, fetal diagnosis, or domestic violence, and is just another attempt to take away a Coloradan’s ability to control their own body.”
Party chair Morgan Carroll added that "while we know Ken Buck and Colorado Republicans support this invasive abortion ban, we have yet to hear how Cory Gardner feels about this extreme measure. Given his history of lying about his record on reproductive freedoms, and the fact he’s supported similar abortion bans in the past, I can only guess that Gardner supports this cruel, cynical ballot measure.”
Correction: a previous version stated that the Secretary of State's office does not compare signatures on original petitions to "cure" petitions to double-check for people who may have signed both. That's still the practice, but in this situation, the elections division, because it had verified every signature on the original petitions, was able to compare the "cure" signatures to the originals for possible duplicates.