Initiative 120, which aims to ban abortion at 22 weeks, did not gather the required number of signatures to place the measure on Colorado’s November 2020 ballot, the Secretary of State’s office announced today.
That means proponents will be granted a 15 day cure period to meet the 124,632 signature requirement, as required by state law. Of the 137,624 signatures turned in by the campaign, called “Due Date Too Late,” 114,647 were valid, according to the Secretary of State’s line-by-line review of petitions.
Due to coronavirus, however, that cure period won’t go into immediate effect, given that signature gatherers can’t go in public to circulate petitions under Colorado’s stay-at-home order, which is set to last until at least April 11. If Governor Jared Polis doesn’t extend the order, the cure period will start on April 12 and conclude on April 27.
“The stay approved by Judge Martin Egelhoff is significant since it gives Due Date Too Late and its volunteers a fair opportunity to collect more signatures in public, which would be impossible during a potential cure period amid a statewide stay-at-home order,” a press release from Due Date Too Late says.
Abortion rights advocates in the state strongly oppose banning abortion at any stage of pregnancy, often classifying the decision to have an abortion later in pregnancy as one that is best left between doctors and patients.
“Coloradans strongly believe that health care decisions belong between patients and doctors, without interference from politicians,” said Karen Middleton, president of the local reproductive health advocacy organization Cobalt, in a press statement. “There is nothing more simple, and more powerful, than each person’s ability to control their own body and to decide for themselves if, when, how, and why to have children. And the supporters of this effort need to recognize and respect that right.”
There’s also the often complicated nature of later abortions, which frequently take place when patients with desired pregnancies receive a diagnosis of a fetal anomaly that can’t be detected until later in pregnancy.
Colorado is one of just a handful of states without a gestational limit on abortion care. The Boulder Abortion Clinic is world-renowned in treating patients with complicated fetal anomalies.
“The petition signature campaign ‘Due Date Too Late,’ at its core, was built on medically inaccurate information about abortion providers and patients, and Colorado voters said NO – we will not support any effort that restricts abortion access,” reads a statement from the Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Coalition. “Every pregnancy is unique. Placing restrictions on abortion care is not only dangerous, it’s intrusive and a violation of our most basic rights.”
Due Date Too Late did not immediately respond to an email seeking to know whether they were confident in their ability to gather the roughly 10,000 extra signatures needed to qualify for the ballot and if they had concerns about how coronavirus could impact signature-gathering efforts. This story will be updated with any response.