DENVER – Colorado voters rejected a ballot measure that, if passed, would have banned abortions in the state after the 22nd week of a woman’s pregnancy unless her life is at risk and potentially punished doctors who performed them.
ABC News called the race around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, with 60% of Coloradans voting against Proposition 115’s passage, compared to 40% who voted in favor of the measure, with 79% of precincts reporting.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Action Fund President and CEO Vicki Cowart released a statement Tuesday evening praising Coloradans’ decision.
"Today, we can proudly confirm that Colorado remains a safe haven for access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion care. Once again, Colorado voters confirmed what we have always known: that health care decisions belong between a patient and their health care provider, without political interference,” Cowart said.
The rejection of Proposition 115 means abortions will continue to be legal at any time during a woman’s pregnancy in Colorado, with a restriction which specifies that the parents or guardians of a minor seeking an abortion must receive written notification about the procedure at least 48 hours in advance.
If Proposition 115 had passed, a doctor who broke the rule and performed an abortion outside of 22 weeks would have been guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor, which would have been punishable by a fine.
Physicians who performed abortions outside of the 22-week window would have faced disciplinary action by the state medical board and a suspension of their license of at least three years under the proposal. Women who received an abortion would not have been penalized had Proposition 115 passed.
The number of abortions performed in the state after 22 weeks is hard to come by. The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) believes the number is between 20 to 300 per year. Opponents of the measure said these types of abortions represent just 1% of abortions.
The citizen-led measure narrowly made the ballot, only doing so after a cure period at the end of May.
Proponents had argued they believe that 22 weeks of gestation is when a fetus is viable and that abortions after that date were inhumane.
This is a developing news story and will be updated.