Politics

Campaign to get abortion ban on Colorado ballot doesn’t collect enough signatures

Backers of a ballot initiative that would have banned abortion in Colorado failed to get enough signatures by the deadline Monday, so the measure won’t be on the November ballot.

Initiative 56, “unlawful murder of a child,” would have prevented abortion at any stage of pregnancy and did not make exceptions for rape or incest.

Supporters needed to collect nearly 125,000 valid signatures, but they fell short of the required number, organizers confirmed. The campaign refused to say exactly how many signatures they obtained and said representatives did not turn in any signatures on Monday to the Colorado Secretary of State.

The grassroots effort to pass the measure was led by a group of women in northeast Colorado whom “pro-life leaders” asked to push forward an initiative to “keep the momentum going” after Proposition 115, said spokeswoman Faye Barnhart, who lives outside of Fort Morgan. Voters rejected the measure in 2020, which would have banned abortion at 22 weeks.

Colorado voters have voted down four other measures since 2008 that would have restricted abortions, and the Democratic-led state legislature passed a law this year that would guarantee the right to an abortion at any point in pregnancy without government interference.

Barnhart said the group started praying about working on an anti-abortion measure nine months before pursuing the question and plans to try to pass it again in the future.

“We did get enough (signatures) to know that God’s moving in the state, so we’re excited to keep moving forward,” Barnhart said, adding that “you can always have the idea that we’re going to save lives. We’re going to protect life and protect both mothers and children.”

But Dani Newsum, strategic partnership director at Cobalt, said it wasn’t surprising initiative backers didn’t collect enough signatures based on what reproductive-rights groups were hearing about the initiative.

Even if it did make it onto the ballot though, Newsum didn’t expect Colorado voters would pass such a measure as voters across the country are rejecting such attempts after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, even in Kansas.

“The fact of the matter is Democrats, Republics, independents (in Colorado), have all made clear that they all respect reproductive rights and want to leave it up to the pregnant person to make their own decision about their own health care, about their own life, and for goodness sake, keep politicians out of medical examining offices and out of people’s bedrooms,” Newsum said.

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