Effort To Ban Abortions and Restrict Contraception Defeated for the Third Time
DENVER – The voters of Colorado have rejected – for the third time since 2008 – a far-reaching constitutional amendment designed to ban all abortions in Colorado, including in cases of rape, incest and when the health of the mother is at risk. Amendment 67 would have gone so far as to restrict access to commonly used forms of birth control, including the Pill and IUDs — and ban in-vitro fertilization for infertile couples who are hoping to have families.
“We’re thrilled that the voters of Colorado were able to, once again, see through the very deceptive ballot language of Amendment 67 and reject it outright,” said Fofi Mendez, campaign director of the Vote NO 67 Campaign. “Once again, Colorado has made it clear that issues surrounding women’s healthcare are personal, private decisions, and not those of the government, courts and lawyers.”
The Vote NO 67 Campaign is comprised of a broad-based, nonpartisan coalition of doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, attorneys, civil libertarians, Latina, African-American, Asian-American organizations, and dozens of community groups. Since the Vote NO 67 Campaign launched in July, more than 75 organizations signed on in formal support, ranging from the Colorado Bar Association to the Colorado Medical Society to the El Paso County Libertarian Party. Nineteen newspapers editorialized against the measure.
No news organization supported Amendment 67, which was sponsored by Personhood USA and Colorado Right To Life. Those groups sponsored similar constitutional amendments in 2008 and 2010, which were overwhelmingly defeated.
If passed, Amendment 67 would have expanded the term “person” in the Colorado Constitution to include “unborn human being” – which has no established legal or medical definition. Attorneys, medical professionals and others noted the result would have criminalized women and their doctors.
“The voters have said, again, they believe women should make their own healthcare decisions,” said Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Coloradans believe that women should be free to make their own decisions about where, when and how to have children. They believe that women should have the ability to use the birth control that works best for them, to be able to use in-vitro fertilization to have children, and to make their own medical decisions when their health is in jeopardy.”
“Colorado voters sent a clear message today that no matter how deceptive the language, personhood initiatives that criminalize women and invite government into their private lives do not match Colorado values and have no place in our laws or our Constitution,” said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, executive director of the ACLU of Colorado.
Said Cristina Aguilar, executive director of COLOR (Colorado Organization for Latina for Opportunity & Reproductive Rights): “Amendment 67 would have threatened our ability as women and Latinas to make important choices about our health care, including when and how to start a family. These decisions are best left for a woman to make with her family, her doctors and her faith.”
“Colorado voters have a longstanding, mainstream belief in supporting abortion rights and reproductive health care, and we saw that belief in action with the defeat of Amendment 67, said Karen Middleton, President of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado members and supporters played an important role in letting voters know about this deceptive, dangerous amendment. We hope those behind Amendment 67 have learned once again that they are on the wrong side of Colorado voters and values and take NO for an answer.”
Said Cowart, of Planned Parenthood, “These groups should respect the values of Colorado voters and stop trying to force their political agenda on us. We will continue to fight this fight because we know Colorado women and families deserve access to the reproductive health care services they need. With the money we invested to defeat this campaign, we could have provided additional services to thousands of women and families in Colorado. But, we advocate for women both inside our health centers as well as in the public arena.”