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March 11, 2014 08:29 AM UTC

Today's Main Event: Banning Abortion in Colorado (Yes, Really)

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE 4:35PM: GOP Reps. Bob Gardner and Mark Waller, both pro-life but “reluctantly” unable to vote for an “unconstitutional” bill to ban abortion, join Democrats in voting against House Bill 14-1133. Bill dies on a final vote of 9-2.


UPDATE #3: Hearing now underway, this Texas-style rotunda photo sent to us from the press conference prior:



UPDATE #2: The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic:

Karen Middleton, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado director, told the Independent that calling attention to this kind of legislation is important, especially given the way the local and national political landscape on the issue of women’s reproductive rights has shifted in recent years.

“Leadership in the Colorado House and Senate is always in the balance,” she said. “This is a bill that has been introduced in the past and will likely be introduced again. It could get through, maybe not this year, but next year… Voters have to take note.”

…Middleton points to the historic wave of anti-abortion bills passed in statehouses around the country in recent years that, she suggests, voters may not have supported had the consequences of the laws been more clearly spelled out in debate.

“You can see what is happening. You see what happened in Texas,” she said.


UPDATE: From the release announcing today's opposition press conference:

A diverse coalition of Coloradans, including reproductive health organizations, doctors, and women with stories about their reproductive health experiences will be speaking out in advance of Tuesday’s hearing on HB 1133, the abortion ban bill.
HB14-1133, which is being sponsored by Republican leadership, would ban abortion in Colorado in almost all circumstances, including in cases of rape and incest. The bill would make it a Class 3 felony for a physician to perform an abortion, which carries a 4-12 year prison sentence. This bill does not represent the needs of Colorado women and families, or the values of Colorado voters. Coloradans have rejected abortion bans at the ballot box twice, and strong majorities continue to support access to safe abortion services.
When & Where: 1:00 pm, Tuesday, March 11, 2014           
Rotunda, 2nd Floor, Outside Old Supreme Court Chambers
Who: Physicians, health care providers, Colorado women
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado
COLOR – Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity & Reproductive Rights (bilingual)


Today at 1:30PM in the Old Supreme Court Chambers, debate in the Colorado House Judiciary Committee will commence on a key piece of Republican legislation, House Bill 14-1133. As we've discussed in this space already, this bill has a simple purpose:


Before the hearing at 1:00PM, a press conference/rally with NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is scheduled outside the Old Supreme Court Chambers. The choice of venue for this hearing anticipates a large crowd, and it's anybody's guess as of now whether it will be overwhelmed with supporters of a total abortion ban in Colorado, opponents, or (mostly likely) both. Hours of emotional testimony is expected, after which the bill will almost certainly die at the hands of this Democratic-controlled committee.

For all the complaints at the beginning of the session–baseless whining, as it turned out–that Republican bills weren't receiving a fair hearing, House Bill 14-1133 wasn't sent to the so-called "kill committee." As we saw this year with failed attempt to repeal the 2013 gun safety laws, Republicans have failed to make good on their threats to pack legislative hearings with angry citizens–a prerequisite for any subsequent claim that they weren't treated fairly. In practice, hearings that were supposed to be standing room only weren't. Opponents of repealing last year's gun bills matched or even outnumbered gun rights activists. And by the end, everyone, including chagrined Republican legislators, were thanking Democrats for the fair hearings.

Today, Republicans will get another fair hearing–albeit for legislation smart Republicans wish had never been introduced. In one of the nation's most ardently and historically pro-choice states, the local GOP's dogmatic fixation with banning abortion has done tremendous political damage in recent years. But it's undeniable that Colorado Republicans own this bill, with House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso himself signed on as a cosponsor.

Understanding all of this, Democrats of course are going to make as big a deal of the 2014 Republican Abortion Ban Bill™ as they possibly can. They have everything to gain politically from doing so, yes. But more than that, this is a trap that Republicans willingly place themselves in year after year. No one, in the too-often "sympathetic" media or anyone else, should give them a bit of cover.

It is who they are, folks. If Republicans don't like that, if that costs them elections, they can change. We have said for years that Republicans could regain the competitiveness they lost in this state a decade ago if they could take the edge off their divisive, wedge-issue dependent message. Moderates, left or right, are what win in this state, and Democrats have spent years cultivating that image. Last year, Democrats spent some of their political capital, giving Republicans at least a superficial opportunity to move to the coveted center.

Thanks to bills like this, Republicans have squandered that opportunity.


39 thoughts on “Today’s Main Event: Banning Abortion in Colorado (Yes, Really)

  1. Just because it's failed in every venue tried — legislative or by popular vote doesn't mean it shouldn't be imposed upon everyone, right?

    Remember folks, it's the supporters of this bill that are the victims here.  It's their rights that are being taken away. Um, yeah, well, something like that…

    1. Gee Moddy if only you could have told us all, with citations, and without resort to wingnut cant and blathering points precisely how and where the Obama administration has "failed". You might have had some sort of argument. As it is it's just another winger whistling past the graveyard.

      I'm amused at how wingers regularly think banning abortion is going to stop them and how they believe  punishing providers and individuals who seek out safe abortions is the solution to what they see as a problem.

  2. Yes, Colorado Republicans, by all means, make it a felony to get a legal, constitutionally protected procedure that at least half of your constituents have either had themselves, or one which your constituents beleive should be available.

    Be my guest.

  3. Blah blah blah. Everyone knows Republicans are pro life. If you think this election is going to be about abortion, you're deluding yourselves. This election is about the failure of the Obama administration nationally and Democrat overreach in Colorado. And you won't be able to distract the people so easily.

    1. Locally this election is still about abortion, because Republicans continue to make it about abortion. In fact, it's kind of hard to ignore abortion at a state level when you have the Republican House Minority Leader co-sponsoring a no-exceptions anti-abortion bill. I do hope the bill got a full list of co-sponsors – I'd hate to deny Republicans the opportunity to attach their names to such a bill, and I know that if it dies in committee as it should that we won't get to see a full vote.

      BTW, do we get Eggmendment IV on the ballot this year?

      1. I got polled yesterday, sounded like a D internal poll to me, but the match up they were most intersted in was Hick and Tanc… ha ha ha ha

        Moddy can hope that the Sen race is not about the regressive War on Women that Gardner was a loyal soldier for; he can pretend that Both Ways and Tancredo are 'distractions' but he doesn't get to decide.  

        That anti women, anti immigration stone around the GOP neck feeling heavy yet?  Must be the was Moddy doth protest.

      2. As I recall it went from getting beaten badly to beaten worse to not even making it on to the ballot. A similar one failed badly even in deep red Mississippi. I think this charade has pretty much lost all steam to motivate righties but still has enough left to motivate everyone else at least a little.

        And Modster knows it too, which accounts for the desperate bleating about this election not being about abortion and personhood. Of course, even on ACA, polling doesn't show that issue having nearly as large an effect on people's election choices as Modster insists it will have. But he definitely doesn't want it to be about anti-choice, anti-birth control, anti-access for women to routine reproductive healthcare and cancer screenings issues.

        Rs know they're going to lose women big again but they hope to at least stop the bleeding. That's why the desparate push to put fictional and incorrect ACA horror stories out there with sympathetic sick people as their knowing or unknowing mouthpieces. Don't look at us on women's rights. Look how we're trying to save the poor victims (never mind their claims never check out) of ACA. Thats the ticket.

      1. Because they aren't particularly pro life. They're anti-choice for the "inferior" gender. They also show they consider women utterly stupid with laws they pass such as those to force them to get instruction on what pregnancy is before obtaining an abortion. 

  4. As usual "Republicans" show that they don't really believe what they say.  When asked all of the "Republicans" would say that abortion after the fertilization of the egg is murder.  Yet, if a doctor pulled the arms and legs from a 5 year old while the mother watched they would all be calling for the death penalty for both the doctor and mother.  Here, what does the doctor get for doing what they say is the same thing, 4-12 years.  Hypocrites.  Either the abortion of a fertilized egg is capital murder, or they don't think that a fertilized egg is the same as a 5 year old.  If they don't think that a fertilized egg is the same as a 5 year old, then there is some doubt as to whether the fertilized egg is a person.  If there is some doubt, then according to Republican philosophy, people ought to be able to decide for themselves.  But, these "Republicans" believe that government can decide for others what is right.  Sorry, but that's a Democratic idea and has been from the start.  You don't get to have it both ways guys.  Either it's murder or its not.  Quit trying to hide your true feelings.  You want the mother and the doctor offed if there is an abortion.  If you don't, then you're lying or inconsistent.  This is all about control.  If you want to tell me that you think the woman and doctor should get the death penalty, then I respect your opinion.  If not, then you're nothing but a good old fashioned misogynist intent on controlling other people's lives.  Sorry, you don't get it both ways.

      1. Good point,. nota SC.  But as a pro capital punishment, pro-choice, person, allow me to point out the absurdity of the other side too.   If the life of a vicious murderer is so sacred that it cannot be taken by the state, then why isn't the life of an innocent baby in the womb just as sacred?   Both the pro death penalty/anti-abortion and the pro-abortion, anti-death penalty people have exactly the same contradiction.   We pro-choice, pro death penalty people may not be right but we're consistent, as admittedly the anti death penalty pro life people are also.  .

        1. Thanks, voyageur. I'm one of those pro-choice, pro death penalty people.

          On the death penalty, I have a few  caveats:

          • only for multiple murders/sex/torture/violent assault crimes – because a criminal addicted to those kinds of crimes is unlikely to be rehabilitated
          • only after guilt is established by multiple means – witnesses, dna testing, appeals, argument, all of the resources of the judicial system including competent legal representation
          • only where death penalty is applied equally to all racial and class groups which fit the above criteria
          • even then, I reserve the right to be wrong, and wouldn't be disturbed by even the most despicable mass murderer/pedophile/torturer being given life imprisonment.

          On abortion, I don't evade that it takes a life – or at least the possibility of a life. We can speculate from here to eternity on when consciousness or a soul sparks in a fetus, and will never agree, nor be able to objectively prove our cases. My simple position is that women, as men, are able to consciously and competently choose when to take a life, for the greater good of a family, other children, the woman herself.

          1. On the matter of the death penalty, I'm a pragmatist.  Why spend millions of dollars and ten or twenty years litigating the day the criminal is to die if they're only getting out of prison feet first eventually, no matter what?

            While I was gratified to see Timothy McVeigh wave his appeals and have his inevitable day of reckoning come with relative lightning speed, I am equally dismayed that George Brauchler turned down an easy conviction with life without any chance of parole for the Aurora Theater killer. 

            Brauchler has higher ambitions, and doesn't mind squandering millions in Colorado taxpayers' money on self-promotion.

            1. I'm with you, Davie. These assholes aren't worth the millions of dollars it takes to kill them. And it should take big bucks, lest an innocent person gets executed.


          2. Your position on the death penalty is pretty much the same as mine, mamajama.   Caveats included.   I actually served on a death penalty jury and was one of four who didn't vote that aggravation outweighed mitigation, which caused the judge to issue an automatic life sentence.  The death penalty is for pretty rare cases and I would never give it out to someone who didn't takje a life himself — i.e., death penalties for crimes like rape are not jus wrong but endanger victims.   If you can get the same penalty for rape and rape murder, psychos will kill the victim to avoid being identified. Colorado has been pretty sparing in practice , offing only rapist/murderer Gary Davis.   I think Rodriquez and Dunlop should have been added to that list. 

        2. You miss the point, as you usually do on the death penalty.  I don't give a rat's ass about a guilty murderer getting executed,  I care about innocents railroaded by our biased prosecutorial system being executed. 

          You've never acknowledged the great likelihood that Cameron Todd Willingham was likely executed for murder, when no such crime actually happened, and new evidence suggests the prosecution withheld evidence of a deal with a jailhouse snitch from his defense.  He was a person.  A pre-viability fetus is not.

          Yours is not the only position that is consistent.


          1. I don't acknowledge your theory because there is no clear evidence to support it.  But your position is ludicrous in the cases like Nathan Dunlop, or do you seriously argue that their is doubt about his guilt?


            Come on, Make my day, and argue that he's innocent!

            1. You don't have to agree with it, you just can't say it's not consistent.

              Fuck Dunlop, let him fry.  It's the victims of prosecutorial misconduct, public defender incompetence, and intitutionalized racism I'm concerned with.  If you care about the deaths of innocent people, the death penalty requires perfection, of which human beings are incapable.

        3. I don't object to the death penalty on the grounds of the sacredness of the murderer's life but on the grounds of the sacredness of our own humanity. I object on the grounds that you can't have the death penalty without having individual executioners and the state, which means all of us collectively, as executioner. I don't believe an individual can be an executioner without doing grave damage to his own humanity. I don't believe that we should be asking any of our sons or daughters to blight their lives as I believe an executioner's life must be blighted. I therefore don't believe a modern civilized state should be in the business of setting its citizens the task of carrying out executions.  

          Execution is not the same as warfare which is sometimes necessary. There absolutely are distinctions between killing under different circumstances for different reasons which is why we don't call all killing murder.

          I also believe the entire death penalty process is too arbitrary and I believe that innocent people have been executed. A man in Texas who was executed for deaths resulting from an alleged act of arson experts say almost certainly was not arson but an accidental house fire is one example of  state execution of a man who was almost certainly innocent but that's really beside the point of my objections.   

          Even the guilty can't very well be executed without executioners. I object to imposing that burden on anyone individually and on all of us as a society. I object to the very bad company in which being an executing nation puts us in a world in which all the other modern democratic states have long judged it to be a vestige of of barbarism. The murderer can still go to hell for all I care.

          1. Murderers aren't likely to go to hell, since that does not exist.   But your notion that carrying out a legal execution somehow "burdens" the executioner is silly.   You're just against capital punishment — for those already born, anyway.  

            1. I disagree that it's a silly consideration. Would you like your daughter to carry out an execution? Do you think it would in no way be a burden for her to carry?  Do you think it would be silly of her if she couldn't just brush it off as no biggie? 

              Be as flippant as you like.  I can assure you that my objections are what I state them to be. 

          1. To begin with, Ford, demonstrably, was not executed.   Additionally, saying his trial was com[promised by inexperienced counsel or supression of evidence is far from proving he did "not commit" the muirder.   The fact that such qualms can vacate a sentence is simply solid evidence that in the post Furman era, executions are carefully considered.

              1. because you haven't proven he is innocent.   But you haven't shown why the obviously guilty, like Dunlop, should be given life no matter how total the evidence against them.   You just believe in limiting capital punishment to fetuses.   I guess that's your privilege, but forgive me if I'm impressed by your logic.

                1. Have you read the New Yorker and Innocence Project pieces?  Do you think there's reasonable doubt, let alone any case standing? 

                  Your skills at logic are failing if you think that caricature fairly represents my position.

                  I'm fine with removing obviously irredeemable murdering scumbags from our midsts.  I'm troubled by our inability to fairly determine just who those are.  The state of Texas thought Willingham was one, and most of the "evidence" against him seems  worthless scientifically, and suspect from a fairness point of view.  The death penalty as currently constructed is unfair to some, and unless you have proposals to fine tune it to be used only by some heightened standard of certainty, then it is unfair to apply it to all.  

                  Fetuses aren't being punished for anything.  They are incapable of crime, intention, or suffering.  They need not be know to, or their loss felt by anyone other than the women who carry them, certainly not religious busybodies projecting their needs on people they don't know.

                  You're capable of better argument than this, but you always fail when the death penalty is involved.

                  1. Perhaps it's because Voyageur feels so passionately about the death penalty that his arguments in support of it aren't particularly logical and he feels such a strong need to denigrate anyone who doesn't completely share his views on the subject. His crack about capital punishment for fetuses is a perfect example. Why such vitriol on the subject? I know reasonable people who support the death penalty, oppose it or support it in a qualified way, recognizing problems such as those you note. On this subject, Voyageur is not one of those reasonable people. He also enjoys being a dick sometimes. But then, who doesn't?

                  2. Citing concerns based on extensive investigation of evidence and procedure in the Williams case strikes me as a lot more logical than either Voyageurs subjective feeling that murderers deserve killing or my subjective feeling that execution is degrading to both the executing individual and to the executing society. As far as logical examination of objective facts go, point definitely goes to Daft.


                    An objective, logical support for the death penalty would be based on such measurable factual considerations as its efficacy as a deterrent.  Do murder rates go up in states that discontinue the death penalty? Do they go down where the death penalty is introduced or reintroduced? That sort of thing.

                    One is free to say that it's too hard to isolate the death penalty from other factors that could affect the data to get definitive answers or that those considerations aren't the point, that the point is that the scum should die. But one can't claim that the view that the scum should die is logic based rather than subjective feeling based. Which is not to say it can't be a valid view. Just that if that's the basis for your view you're in no position to claim that you are the one being logical.

  5. Georgia Rule!

    No known opponent of same sex marriage will be permitted to orate against abortion on this board.   Same sex marriages have virtually zero abortion rates.   So, effectuve immediately, bloviatus must STFU!

  6. Waller and Gardner both voted no on the bill, accusing the majority of not allowing them to ammend the bill in order to make it "constitutional". In reality, those amendments did not fit under the title of the bill and so were rejected. 

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