A Democrat-controlled committee voted down a bill yesterday at the state Capitol that would support life from conception after a heated debate about federal abortion laws and women’s decision to abort.
The proposed bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Severance, would ban abortion in Colorado in almost all circumstances, including in cases of rape and incest.
“We are concerned because abortion could take the innocent life of human beings simply because (the baby) is in the way,” Humphrey said before the final vote. “We ask for what is virtuous not what is convenient.”
The bill sought to make it a felony for a physician to perform an abortion, punishable by a four- to 12-year prison sentence. The exceptions would be if a doctor performed the abortion to prevent the death of the mother or if the abortion was an unintended consequence of another medical treatment.
The proposed bill garnered wide support from House and Senate legislators including Reps. Perry Buck, R-Larimer; Justin Everett, R-Jefferson; Kevin Priola, R-Adams; and Sens. Scott Renfroe, R-Weld; and Ted Harvey, R-Douglas; among others.
The bill came before the House Judiciary Committee March 11 for a vote when pro-abortion and pro-life advocates came to testify.
Support from the committee was lagging when Republicans proposed amendments in an attempt to salvage the bill. One amendment sought to prohibit abortions for women at least 20 weeks pregnant—similar to the Texas legislature’s abortion ban— yet it failed. The second amendment, which sought to make exceptions for the ban in cases of rape and incent, also failed.
A vote on the bill without the amendments was then made. Lawmakers killed the bill on a final vote of 2-9.
Two Republican lawmakers on the committee said they voted against the bill on constitutional grounds, because it conflicted with the federal Roe v. Wade abortion law.