As the Colorado Secretary of State’s office reports today, a proposed abortion ban initiative will be on the 2020 ballot after all:
The Elections Division of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office announced today that Proposed Initiative 120 (“Prohibition on Late-Term Abortion”) obtained the sufficient number of signatures needed to qualify for the 2020 General Election ballot.
On March 4, the “Prohibition on Late-Term Abortion” Initiative submitted 137,624 petition signatures, needing 124,632 valid signatures to qualify for inclusion on the 2020 ballot…
…The proponents initially did not submit the required number of signatures but by law were afforded an opportunity to cure the insufficiency. By order of a district court, the proponents secured an extension of the period in which they could acquire the sufficient number of valid signatures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That cure period to reach sufficiency began on May 15 and ended at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 29, at which time an additional 48,689 signatures were submitted.
Upon review, the Elections Division has determined a sufficient number of signatures have been submitted and the proposed initiative will appear on the November 3 General Election Ballot.
There will be plenty of mixed opinions on this issue, but politically-speaking, this is not great news for Colorado Republicans already looking at an uphill battle in the 2020 election. Republican candidates could have dodged questions on the “Late-Term Abortion” measure had it not qualified for the ballot, but now every GOP hopeful will be asked to state whether or not they plan to vote for Initiative 120.
As you can see from the chart below, efforts to restrict abortion access in Colorado have failed miserably over the last 20 years:
Initiative 120 probably won’t have a negative impact on Democratic candidates in 2020, but it could be a significant issue in swing legislative races. For example, Suzanne Staiert is the Republican candidate for State Senate District 27 (Arapahoe County) and the attorney for the “Due Date Too Late” group that is fronting Initiative 120; both Democrats and Republicans consider SD-27 to be one of the most prominent races in 2020.
Nationwide, voters are not enthusiastic about abortion restrictions like Initiative 120’s proposal to enact a ban after 22 weeks of pregnancy (which isn’t based on any real healthcare data but is more of an attempt to get something abortion-related passed in Colorado). Navigator Research found last month that 65% of voters oppose efforts to “restrict women’s access to time-sensitive reproductive care.”
Of course, Colorado is unquestionably a pro-choice state now. In 2014, Pew Research found that 59% of Colorado voters believe that abortion should be legal in all/most cases. Last June, a poll from Keating-OnSight-Melanson found that 68% of Colorado voters believe that abortion should be legal (with just 5% undecided).