The most difficult part of the campaign for Prop 115 was the disinformation disseminated by our opponents. It was frustrating to see abortion rights advocates convince many Coloradans that late abortion was only pursued for medical indications and horrible fetal anomalies. They even suggested that a late abortion restriction would significantly impact rape/incest victims. It was hard to refute their claims since the state maintains a woefully inadequate/incomplete abortion surveillance database. I believe their misinformation cost us the winning margin.
It became clear to me that Coloradoans are more likely to have a change of heart if they understood the true magnitude of the issue in Colorado and the reasons women cite to pursue abortion. The current abortion surveillance data is dramatically underreported. The pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute places the true number of abortions 40% higher. The deficiencies of the current data are glaringly apparent for late abortions (since the largest late-term abortion practice in Colorado, the Boulder Abortion Clinic, does not report their data). Furthermore, it does not address the reasons women have abortions or the complications of the procedure which is critical information from a public health perspective.
Fortunately, Representative Stephanie Luck has introduced a bill that promises to shed a bright light on abortion practice in Colorado. HB21-1183 is an abortion surveillance bill that gives the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) additional tools to obtain reliable abortion data from Colorado’s abortion providers and expands the information that is required to be submitted.
The new bill would increase the information provided by abortionists and make it unprofessional conduct if they don’t report their data. I anticipate that it will reveal that most abortions, including those after 22 weeks, are performed on normal fetuses. It will highlight the tragedy of abortion for fetuses with Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome. It will demonstrate that women very rarely pursue abortion for medical indications, rape or incest. It will give us information on the frequency of abortion complications in the totally unregulated Colorado abortion industry and identify the funding sources for abortion.
I believe that HB21-1183 will be an important source of information for all Coloradans and inform their views on abortion. It can serve as an impetus for robust research on abortion in our state. I believe it can lead to the development of private/public policies and programs that address abortion demand and refine our services to women to reduce their perceived need for abortion.
In my mind, knowledge is power. This bill is the first step in our effort to regroup and educate the people of Colorado after the failure of Prop 115. The bill has been referred to the Health and Insurance Committee (https://leg.colorado.gov/committees/health-insurance/2021-regular-session) for a hearing on March 24. The bill will be killed in committee unless the people of Colorado demand accurate and actionable abortion data. I would encourage Catholics to contact the members of the Health and Insurance committee, as well as their state representative and senator, and let their views be known. Please encourage them to vote YES. Together we can guarantee more transparency in our state and pull back the curtain on the ugly truth about abortion.
–Tom Perille, MD