Coloradans will vote on protecting abortion rights this November

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
An abortion rights supporter holds a sign saying “Bans off our bodies,” on the west steps of the Capitol in Denver on April 18, 2024, during a press conference to celebrate the delivery of signatures to the Secretary of State’s office with the goal of putting an abortion rights constitutional amendment before voters this November.

Colorado voters will decide this fall whether to enshrine the right to legal abortion in the state constitution. 

The Secretary of State's office said today that reproductive rights groups had collected enough signatures to put a measure known as Initiative 89 on the ballot for this November’s election.

Colorado law already protects legal access to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care, but advocates said they want to make that policy more permanent. This year’s measure would amend the state’s constitution, ensuring the current policy could not be changed by a future legislature. It would also remove a constitutional ban that prevents state money from going to abortion services.

The state constitution can only be amended by a vote of the people. Because this measure is adding text to the constitution, it will need at least 55-percent support to pass.

Supporters had to submit nearly 125,000 valid signatures from voters. The Secretary of State's office said they turned in 159,930 valid signatures.

Colorado is the second state, after Florida, to definitely have an abortion-related constitutional amendment on its ballot for the fall election. Similar efforts are currently underway in a number of other states, including Nebraska, Arizona and Nevada.

The abortion amendment is just one of numerous questions Colorado voters will be asked to decide this fall. State lawmakers referred eight measures to the ballot, including one that would remove a ban on same sex marriage from the constitution. Advocacy groups are still gathering signatures on a wide range of other issue that could also end up in front of voters.

Editor's note: This article was updated May 20, 2024 with additional information about the initiative.