Initiative to end late-term abortion in Colorado meets signature deadline

Initiative to end late-term abortion in Colorado meets signature deadline

A participant holds a sign during the March for Life rally in front of the Colorado Capitol in Denver Jan. 17, 2015. A 2020 Colorado initiative to end late-term abortion has received nearly five times the number of signatures needed to put the measure on the state's November ballot. (Credit: Eileen Walsh/CNS.)

Organizers of Colorado ballot Initiative 120, or Due Date Too Late, said their volunteers turned in nearly five times the number of signatures needed to get the initiative before voters in November.

DENVER — Organizers of Colorado ballot Initiative 120, or Due Date Too Late, said their volunteers turned in nearly five times the number of signatures needed to get the initiative before voters in November.

Volunteers turned in 48,329 signatures to Secretary of State Jena Griswold by their deadline of 2 p.m. May 29.

The initiative would prohibit abortion in Colorado after 22 weeks, with an exception for the life of the mother. Colorado is one of only seven states that allow abortion for any reason up until birth with no restrictions.

Earlier supporters had delivered over 137,000 signatures to Griswold’s office by a March 4 deadline. But because of invalid and repeat signatures, 10,000 valid signatures were still needed; 124,632 signatures are required to put an initiative on the ballot.

A two-week “cure period” began May 15 to allow the Due Date Too Late campaign to get the additional signatures it needed. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis May 15 signed an executive order to temporarily allow signatures for ballot initiatives to be gathered by email because of current stay-at-home restrictions in place because of COVID-19.

His action was challenged in court as opponents fought for a temporary restraining order. A Denver District Court judge held a hearing on the matter May 18 and four days later declined to put a temporary stop on Polis’ executive order. On May 27, the judge upheld the governor’s order.

“This has been an historic day for the Due Date Too Late team and the volunteers across the state of Colorado. There has been an incredible amount of bipartisan support for Initiative 120,” Lauren Castillo, spokesperson for the Due Date Too Late campaign, said in a May 29 statement.

“We are thankful to everyone who has dedicated their time to making this step toward saving lives and ending late-term abortion a reality,” she added.

Under the measure, the mother is not subject to any criminal penalties, nor is a pharmacist “who unwittingly fills a prescription for an abortion beyond 22 weeks.” The abortion doctor can be charged criminally but is not subject to jail time. Performing a late-term abortion is subject to a three-year suspension of a medical license.

After the signatures were turned in, Griswold’s office had 10 days to check and count the signatures for ballot certification.

Supporters of the initiative said they were confident that given the huge number of signatures that were turned in, the initiative would easily get the 10,000 it needed to be put on the ballot after state officials weed out any invalid or duplicated signatures.

The Due Date Too Late campaign has a network of nearly 500 volunteers throughout the state. Several thousand voters in Colorado’s rural eastern and Western Slope communities from Cortez to Wray signed the petition.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 74 percen of Americans believe that there should be limitations on late-term abortion.

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