Three anti-abortion bills were killed in the House and Insurance Committee on Friday. The bills, introduced by Rep. Stephanie Luck (R-Penrose) and Rep. Scott Bottoms (R-CO Springs), were part of the annual tradition where Republican legislators introduce anti-abortion legislation that fails to move forward in the Democrat controlled legislature. Last year, testimony in support of bills aimed at ending abortion and collecting additional medical data on abortion patients died after a 12-hour session. This year, bills to end abortion in Colorado, provide pain medication to fetuses during abortions, and provide information about abortion pill reversal were voted down, eight to three, during nearly seven hours of testimony.
Those speaking in support of the bills included groups like Colorado Right to Life and End Abortion Now, as well as faith leaders and, at times, entire families. Witnesses read passages from the Bible and argued that abortion is tantamount murder.
“We have to stop the homicide,” said Luck while presenting her bill. “It’s legalized genocide.”
David Meeks, a Pentecostal pastor, said Colorado’s drought and wildfires are divine punishment for Colorado’s support for abortion since 1967. Aaron Carlson, another witness, described Colorado’s crime, poverty and homelessness as “signs of judgment” from God.
Bottoms, when introducing his bill, “Abolishing Abortion In Colorado,” discussed the malign influence of demons on Colorado’s reproductive health policies. “The Bible tells us, in 1 Timothy 4, how the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times, some will turn away from true faith and they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that comes from demons,” he said. “This is what this is. A rational thinking society that thinks it is okay to murder their own babies. That is demonic thinking.”
Jeff Durbin, the head of Arizona-based End Abortion Now, testified in support of Bottoms’ bill. “We’ve been working with legislators across the country in different states to get these bills of equal protection put in,” he said. “Rep. Bottoms believes this. The pro-life community affirms what scripture teaches and what all biology teaches, that we are human from fertilization, that we are all worthy of protection and dignity and respect. Rep. Bottoms believes that. It’s an affirmation that all the legislators here who are in the Colorado legislature believe if they’re pro-life.”
Durbin, who has said that people who get abortions should be charged with murder, and punished accordingly, testified at the Denver Capitol last year in support of former Rep. Dave Williams’ nearly identical bill. Last year, End Abortion Now pushed a similar bill, that was ultimately unsuccessful, in Louisiana. This year, following the Dobbs decision and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, End Abortion Now is hoping to expand its legislative footprint.
“It’s a bill that’s actually happening across the country right now,” said Durbin. “Probably by the end of the session, in at least 15 different states — Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma — across the country. It says we are indisputably human from the moment of fertilization. And we believe that all humans deserve equal protection inside and outside the womb, from fertilization to natural death. That’s essentially all it is. It’s a bill of equal protection for all humans.”
Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy (D-Lakewood) shared his concerns about Bottoms’ and Durbin’s bill. “I don’t see this as simple as it’s sometimes been framed, and that’s because if this bill had been in law last summer, my wife would be dead,” he said. “My wife had an ectopic pregnancy that was ruptured. It means that the fertilized egg was attached to the wall of the fallopian tube, rather than the uterus, and we didn’t catch it and it ruptured. There was a morning where I found my wife crouched over a toilet, feeling agonizing pain. I dropped everything and ran her to the emergency room. Now, sometimes there’s a waiting time in the emergency room and you’re in there for a couple of hours waiting to be seen. After which we found out she had a pint of blood in her abdomen. Now, even if this bill had an explicit exception for the life of the mother, that may not have saved her life in this case. Really what we’re talking about here is in a situation where a hospital is going to go find out and check with their lawyers, find out if the government permits them to do what it takes to save the life of the woman in this situation. Really, the point is this — the only person who is in any sort of position to make this incredibly difficult decision about what to do in a situation like this is the pregnant person themself.”
Rep. Lorena Garcia (D-Westminster), criticized Bottoms’ bill to require medical providers to provide information on abortion pill reversal, which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says is not based on science and does not meet clinical standards.
“A word that we’ve heard a lot tonight is ‘facts,’” said Garcia. “A fact is not a fact because you wish it to be. A fact is a fact when it is based on data and evidence. The data on the effectiveness of this practice simply does not exist. In fact, evidence of the unethical practice is resounding. I am a profound defender of informed consent, but this does not exist when information is given under a cloud of gaslighting. Informing people of practices in medicine that are unproven and dangerous is malpractice. It’s coercion. It’s dangerous, and simply put, it’s a farce. This bill is not about choice. It’s not about informed consent. This bill is dangerous to our communities. To anyone who is told that this could potentially reverse a decision that they might wish they had done differently. Because of this I will vote no on this bill tonight because I do not believe in gaslighting and lying to people to push an agenda.”
The three Republican members of the Health and Insurance Committee, Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta), Rep. Mary Bradfield (R-Fountain), and Rep. Ron Weinberg (R-Loveland), all voted in favor of the proposed anti-abortion bills. Despite the opposition, anti-abortion advocates are undeterred.
“Colorado is a tough one because it’s a worldview issue, and there’s a dominant worldview here in the legislature, and a lot of places, that is not consistent with the Christian worldview or even the historic worldview of this nation,” said Durbin. “It’s a tough nut to crack, Colorado is, but we believe that we still need to love our neighbors, even those who oppose this, and speak the truth in a way that’s not compromising. We’re going to do that here regardless of ‘Is it practical? Is it pragmatic?’ We’re going to be uncompromising and tell the truth and love our neighbors.”
Greg Lopez, the former mayor of Parker and a failed 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate, summed it up succinctly. “This debate is never going to go away,” he said. “You have not seen the last of me.”