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Colorado lawmaker introduces bill to grant personhood status to embryos, fetuses

The bill is part of a nationwide effort to grant personhood status to embryos and fetuses in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade
Legal actions grow after loss of frozen embryos
Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 20:57:11-05

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers are set to consider a bill that would essentially grant personhood status to embryos and fetuses.

More than 65 people signed up to testify on the bill Monday, which is sponsored by Republican State Rep. Scott Bottoms of Colorado Springs.

"We're murdering our own babies," Bottoms said. "This is wrong. It's morally wrong."

The bill would classify an embryo or fetus as a person and allow prosecutors to criminally charge a mother for getting an abortion. Mothers who are charged with an offense of first-degree murder could use a defense of duress, according to the bill.

"I do believe it's evil when a mother decides they don't want their child," Bottoms said. "I do think that's evil. I don't understand that. If that means people have to go to jail for it, we have a long history in our country of people going to jail for murder."

The bill states any Colorado judge who voids or overrules any provision of the bill would be subject to impeachment.

It’s nearly identical to a bill Bottoms introduced last year, which failed. Back then, he told Denver7 he was aware the bill had virtually no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled legislature.

“I don't understand people that think that killing their own babies is a good thing. I just don't understand that. It goes beyond my rational thinking,” Bottoms said. "I am going to move the conversation because anytime you speak truth to that darkness, you actually push that darkness backwards,” Bottoms said.

Colorado lawmaker introduces bill to grant personhood status to embryos, fetuses

Claudia Perez with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said the bill goes too far and would have dire consequences.

"The reasons we're concerned about that at Planned Parenthood is that bills like these are abortion ban bills and they seek to strip away access to care for Coloradans,” said Perez.

In striking down Roe two years ago, the Supreme Court overturned a ban that kept states from granting personhood status before 24 weeks of viability. With Roe gone, lawmakers in several states have introduced bills that would do just that.

Last month, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through IVF treatment are children. That decision caused hospitals to pause IVF treatments in that state.

“We've seen the chaos. We've seen the confusion and the heartbreak that that [ruling] has caused for families in Alabama,” said Perez. "And the fact that a representative here in Colorado would want to subject Coloradans to the same cruelty is absolutely ridiculous and abhor."

Like Bottom’s proposal last year, the bill is not likely to even make it out of the House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, where Democrats hold an 8 to 3 majority.