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Supreme Court Vacancy Raises Stakes for CO Reproductive-Rights Campaign

Americans' attitudes on abortion contrast sharply along party lines, and have remained steady over the last decade. (Wikimedia Commons)
Americans' attitudes on abortion contrast sharply along party lines, and have remained steady over the last decade. (Wikimedia Commons)
September 22, 2020

DENVER -- Colorado pro-choice organizers are doubling down on their efforts to protect what they call the legacy of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a staunch defender of gender equality and reproductive rights. Centennial State voters will decide in November whether to implement Proposition 115 - a ban on abortions after 22-weeks, and a criminal penalty for doctors who perform them.

The jurists reported to be on President Donald Trump's shortlist for a Supreme Court nominee largely oppose abortion. Stefanie Clarke, with No on Prop 115, said that makes fighting at the state level all the more important.

"I don't think you can overstate what the loss of Justice Ginsburg means to women, to the reproductive-rights movement and to our nation. The fact is, she was one of the strongest remaining defenders of safe and legal abortion on the Supreme Court," Clarke said. "So if you thought the stakes couldn't get any higher in this election, they just did."

Proponents of Prop 115 say abortions past 22 weeks are morally wrong, and that 22 weeks is enough time to learn if a pregnancy poses any health or emotional risk. But research shows the most common reason for delaying an abortion is transportation and procedure costs, and this restriction would disproportionately affect young women and women in poverty who don't recognize their pregnancies early.

Clarke said Colorado voters have rejected similar measures three times in the last 12 years. And just 1% of abortions occur later in pregnancy.

"We trust women and families to make these personal medical decisions, in consultation with their doctors and without interference from politicians," she said. "So if there ever was time to double down and stop this dangerous and deceptive abortion ban in its tracks, now is the time."

She said their campaign has a lot of work to do, because it's crucial that voters have accurate information to make a decision on Proposition 115.

Lily Bohlke, Public News Service - CO