Restricting late-term abortions in Colorado shouldn’t be hard. 43 other states already do it. A nationwide Gallop poll shows 74% of Americans believe there should be basic, common-sense limitations on late-term abortion. Only 18% of Democrats, 13% of Independents, and 6% of Republicans think third-trimester abortion should be legal. Passing Prop. 115 — the Due Date Too Late initiative, which would limit abortion in Colorado to 22 weeks with an exception for the mother’s life — is the popular thing to do.
But aside from public support, let’s talk about basic humanity. At 22 weeks, babies are fully formed human beings. They simply need time and the right environment to grow. Isn’t that what all children need? At 22 weeks, babies are kicking their mothers; they’re sucking their thumbs; they can hear mom’s voice and dad’s, too. At 22 weeks, babies can feel pain. That’s not an opinion or an emotional argument: it’s a scientific fact. It’s something any person concerned about basic human dignity cares about. For a late-term baby, abortion isn’t a painless process. It’s a forceful procedure designed to end a human life.
Even when we talk about tragic situations, where babies are diagnosed with fetal abnormalities or life-threatening conditions, we need to think about basic human dignity. In no other life situation do we get the choice to end another person’s life because she will suffer if we don’t kill her. Even if a father found out that his two-year-old would die from a heart defect at the age of five, he doesn’t get to end her life early. That’s not something we do to adults or children and we don’t have the right to do it to babies.
Modern medicine has come a long way, and medical professionals’ ability to treat human beings in need is amazing. Modern medicine is one of the reasons my husband didn’t die from the same cancer that took his grandfather’s life five decades ago. Modern medicine is one of the reasons that babies at 22 weeks are considered “viable” today. Viability means these babies have the ability to survive outside their mother’s womb, given proper care. In fact, Britain has recognized 22 weeks as the new age of viability. The youngest surviving baby in the United States, born at 21 weeks, is now a healthy girl about to enter preschool. Most people agree that when a baby can survive outside the womb, it shouldn’t be legal to abort her for any reason at all. But that’s what Colorado allows — abortion until the day of birth, with no restrictions, for any reason whatsoever.
One of the most reasonable things about Prop. 115 is that it has an exception for the mother’s life. Her life matters, too. It also doesn’t criminalize women. If you’re not a woman yourself, you have a woman in your life whom you care about. Prop. 115 wouldn’t make women criminals, no matter what choices they make. When late-term abortion ends in Colorado, the only people who will be subject to penalties are the people who commit an illegal abortion on another person. After all, no one should be allowed to perform an illegal medical procedure on someone else’s body. That’s simply not safe.
Prop. 115 is something people from all walks of life can agree on. The woman sponsoring this bill is a Hispanic immigrant; one of the authors is a Democrat medical doctor; a key strategist is Black; and yes, I’m a Republican attorney supporting it, too. We have atheists, Catholics, agnostics, Muslims, Christians, Jews and many others joining us.
Children in Colorado have been overlooked for too long. Let’s join 43 other states that agree late-term abortion, on demand, for any reason, is just too extreme.
Kristi Burton Brown is a constitutional attorney and vice chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.