Abortion rights rose to the forefront of the 2020 election with Friday’s death of Supreme Court Justice and reproductive rights icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, all but guaranteeing an indomitable anti-choice majority on the highest court in the land for years to come.
There was an almost immediate surge in donations to Democrats running for seats in the U.S. Senate, where the fight to replace Justice Ginsburg will take place.
Even prior to Justice Ginsburg’s death and the nation’s renewed focus on reproductive rights, abortion was quite literally on Colorado’s November ballot.
Now, with abortion rights hanging in the balance nationwide, the fight over Proposition 115, a ballot measure that would ban abortion at 22 weeks in Colorado, is even more significant.
The measure would impose criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, including in cases where patients receive a lethal fetal diagnosis, are survivors of rape or incest, or are seeking abortions for health reasons. If Prop. 115 passes, Colorado will no longer serve as a safe haven for those seeking abortions later in pregnancy, joining the majority of states with laws restricting access to abortion.
“In light of this tragic loss, the stakes in November are greater than ever — particularly when it comes to abortion rights,” said the No on 115 campaign in a press statement. “We will no longer be able to rely on the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade — and should Proposition 115 pass, abortion access as we know it will cease to exist. If ever there was a time to double down and stop this dangerous and deceptive abortion ban in its tracks, now is the time.”
No on 115 Communications Director Stefanie Clark called RBG’s passing a “wake up call,” and told the Colorado Times Recorder that in the past 24 hours, her organization had received the most individual online donations since the campaign was launched.
Colorado is one of several states that don’t impose gestational limits on abortion. What’s more, it’s surrounded by states where access to abortion even early in pregnancy is scarce, making it a critical point of access for women across the region who seek abortion care.
Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner said yesterday that he would vote to confirm a “qualified” replacement for Ginsburg prior to the election, striking a blow to Democrats’ hopes of delaying the SCOTUS confirmation process and preserving the constitutional right to an abortion.
The move drew ire from abortion rights advocates who criticized Gardner for his record of hostility toward reproductive rights and going back on his Feb. 2016 statement that it would have been “too close to the election” to confirm then-President Barack Obama’s SCOTUS nominee.
“As a reproductive rights organization, we will say Sen Gardner has one consistency: ignoring Coloradans and doing what Mitch McConnell & Donald Trump tell him to do,” said Karen Middleton, president of Cobalt (formerly known as NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado). “Cory Gardner continues to ignore the wishes of Coloradans on abortion rights and not surprisingly goes back on his word about Supreme Court confirmations from 2016.”