Legislative update: Initiative 120 may still need more signatures, death penalty repealed

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Over the last several months, the Colorado pro-life community has been asked to help change abortion laws in Colorado by signing ballot initiative 120, which would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks through birth. The deadline was reached and over 137,000 signatures were delivered to the Colorado Secretary of State Office on March 4. However, more signatures may be needed to get this initiative on the November ballot.

Initiative 120 would restrict abortions after 22 weeks in pregnancy in the state of Colorado, with the only exception being if the mother’s life is at risk. Under Initiative 120, a person conducting the abortion could be subject to having a medical license suspended and would be subjected to a fine, but it wouldn’t impose a penalty on the woman receiving the abortion.

What happens now?

The turned in signatures are currently being reviewed by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office to determine how many of them are valid. They did an initial review of five percent of the turned in signatures, which predicted the total would fall about 3,000 signatures short of the required 124,632. Because the prediction was so close to the required amount, they are now doing a line-by-line review of all signatures to determine the total number of valid signatures.

The Secretary of State is expected to announce the final results in early April, and if the number falls short of the required total, a 15-day “cure period” would begin that allows for an attempt to collect the necessary remaining signatures.

Once the Secretary of State declares the exact number of insufficient signatures, a 15-day “cure period” begins, which means that during this time the issue committee may circulate to gather enough signatures to reach the required number of valid signatures.

As far as what supporters can do at this time, Deacon Geoff Bennett, Vice President of Parish and Community Relations at Catholic Charities of Denver, asked for prayers in a statement to the Denver Catholic. Learn more at respectlifedenver.org

“Pray first, particularly since Initiative 120 faces the same uncertainties as other aspects of civic life given the Coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency,” Deacon Bennett said. “Then we must continue taking action. Talk to family, friends and neighbors about Initiative 120 to help raise awareness.”

Additionally, Due Date Too Late, the entity that initiated the petition drive, is raising money to fund efforts that include gaining additional petition signatures, if needed.

For more information and make donations, which are not tax deductible, visit duedatetoolate.com

Death penalty repeal signed into law

On March 23, Colorado Governor Jared Polis officially signed into law SB20-100, making Colorado the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty. The Colorado Catholic Conference – which represents the state’s four bishops and three dioceses – actively supported this legislation.

“We thank Gov. Jared Polis for signing this historic piece of legislation, and we commend the many state senators and representatives who worked hard to make this important change to our state law,” the bishops said in a statement. “We believe that human life is sacred from conception until natural death. We believe that, because God made us in his image and likeness, it is not possible to lose the dignity that confers to our lives. We are, as Jesus said, his brothers and sisters, even if we have committed great crimes or sins.”

However, the bishops added, “While today we applaud the repeal of the death penalty, we must never forget about the victims of these horrendous crimes, and as a community we must continue to support their families and loved ones. May they find comfort, healing and forgiveness in the love of Jesus Christ.”

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