Proposition 115: Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks, Explained

October 12, 2020

Proposition 115 would ban all abortions after 22 weeks except in cases in which the pregnant woman’s life is directly threatened by the pregnancy.

A simple majority vote is required for the proposition to pass.

Colorado voters have rejected ballot initiatives to limit abortion three times in the last 12 years. As it stands, there are no laws in Colorado to limit abortion at any gestational stage. The state has become a safe haven for people who live in states with abortion bans as one of only seven states that allow for abortions later in pregnancy.

Proponents say that Colorado should catch up to the states with abortion limits and put a “reasonable restriction” on abortion. The ban would not make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormalities nor a woman’s mental health. Proponents say that’s because screening for abnormalities is typically completed “well before 22 weeks.” (Anatomy scans to detect abnormalities occur around the 18- to 20-week mark.) Due Date Too Late, the group behind Proposition 115, argues that abortion at this stage is “cruel.”

Opponents say that abortions later in pregnancy are rare, representing about 1 percent of all abortions in the U.S., but when necessary, they are performed in cases where there is a fatal fetal diagnosis, in cases of rape and incest and in patients who had to travel to access abortion. By implementing a one-size-fits-all approach, the unique complications of each pregnancy are ignored, according to those who support No On 115. They say women and doctors should be trusted to make medical decisions without the input of politicians and the state legislature. 

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