Ballot initiative planned to restrict some abortions |

Ballot initiative planned to restrict some abortions

DENVER – A proposal to ask voters to ban most later-term abortions would make Colorado among the first states to address the issue through a ballot initiative, if approved, experts said.The Colorado proposal was developed by Denver lawyer Mike Lawrence and Tim Dore, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference.It would make it a felony for a doctor to knowingly perform an abortion on a fetus that could survive outside the womb with life support or otherwise, or to conduct an abortion with “reckless disregard of whether the fetus is viable.” It wouldn’t apply if the mother was at risk of death or serious injury. Anyone who performs an abortion on a viable fetus would have to file a report with state health officials listing why the abortion was necessary.Election officials scheduled a Jan. 10 hearing to finalize language of the proposed ballot initiative.Thirty-two states have laws criminalizing the termination of pregnancy at some point in gestation, according to the New York-based Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks state policy on abortion. In two other states, South Carolina and Massachusetts, court cases establish that fetuses can qualify as victims under homicide statutes.”A number of states have worked on this issue of fetal homicide but not through a ballot initiative,” said public policy associate Elizabeth Nash of the institute. “A ballot initiative process would definitely be unique.”Lawrence told The Denver Post the proposal was meant to have a mild effect. “It is not meant to prohibit women from access to abortion,” he said. “It simply tells them, ‘If you’re going to have an abortion, do it in the first five months or so of pregnancy.'”

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