Anti-Abortion Group Falls Short On Signatures For Ballot Proposal In Colorado, Will Try For More

Pro-life advocates deliver thousands of signed petitions to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, initiating a ballot measure process that could ban abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy. March 4, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A group seeking to ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy in Colorado needs more signatures to get its measure on the November ballot.

The Secretary of State's office said Friday that it counted only 114,647 valid signatures gathered by the group and submitted in March in support of its initiative. That means the group needs 9,985 more, and it will only have a period of 15 days to do so.

That timeline is complicated by Colorado's stay-at-home order issued to combat the spread of by COVID-19.

On Thursday, Denver District Judge Martin Egelhoff granted an emergency motion to delay the start of that 15-day period for the group until after the statewide stay-at-home order ends. That date is currently set for April 11, but it could be extended.

"It's just very important that we make sure that we don't get out there and collect signatures until after the government has locally deemed that safe and appropriate for us to do so," said Lauren Castillo, spokeswoman for Due Date Too Late.

A team of 200 trained volunteers and paid circulators will work to gather those additional signatures.

"We are confident that we will reach that goal during the cure period," Castillo said. "The bipartisan support for this initiative thus far has shown that Coloradans want to see an end to (22-week abortions)," she added.

Initiative 120 would include exceptions for cases in which the mother's life was in danger.

In a statement, the Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Coalition said the Due Date Too Late campaign is "built on medically inaccurate information about abortion providers and patients."

Cobalt, formerly NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, has also argued that Coloradans have "repeatedly rejected" abortion bans.

"Coloradans strongly believe that health care decisions belong between patients and doctors, without interference from politicians," Karen Middleton, president of Cobalt, said in a statement. "There is nothing more simple, and more powerful, than each person’s ability to control their own body and to decide for themselves if, when, how, and why to have children."