Daily Camera (Boulder)

Pro­posed abor­tion ban

- Health · Abortion Debate · Society · Discrimination · Abortions · Social Issues · Human Rights · Colorado · U.S. Supreme Court · Women's Health · Hamilton

Mem­bers of our Com­mu­nity Ed­i­to­rial Board re­spond to the fol­low­ing ques­tion: Colorado vot­ers will be asked in the Nov. 3 elec­tion to de­cide whether or not to ban abor­tions af­ter 22 weeks. Your take?

Vote no on Propo­si­tion 115. It is an in­hu­mane mea­sure which would force doc­tors to turn their backs on pa­tients in some of the most painful sit­u­a­tions imag­in­able. Abor­tions af­ter 22 weeks com­prise just 1 per­cent of abor­tions, but this re­stric­tion would cost lives and cause enor­mous hu­man suf­fer­ing in the rare cases when par­ents and doc­tors de­cide that the preg­nancy should not con­tinue.

This ban has no ex­cep­tion for end­ing preg­nan­cies re­sult­ing from rape or in­cest, and sur­vivors of such trauma may need some ad­di­tional time to make the de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate their preg­nan­cies, per­haps due to pres­sure from their abusers or be­cause they are too young to rec­og­nize the early signs of preg­nancy. We must pro­tect sur­vivors of rape and in­cest, not re­vic­tim­ize them by forc­ing them to bear their abusers’ chil­dren, es­pe­cially when they are chil­dren them­selves.

The ma­jor­ity of abor­tions af­ter 22 weeks are wanted preg­nan­cies. They oc­cur when the ul­tra­sound that typ­i­cally hap­pens at about 20 to 22 weeks re­veals that the fe­tus has sig­nif­i­cant ge­netic ab­nor­mal­i­ties that are in­com­pat­i­ble with life or that would re­sult in a short and painful life.

These types of ab­nor­mal­i­ties are typ­i­cally not de­tectable close to the 22 week mark or even later. Forc­ing par­ents to bring the preg­nancy to term and de­liver a still­born or watch their child suf­fer a painful death is un­con­scionable. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst en­emy.

This ban could cost lives by ham­string­ing doc­tors’ abil­ity to ef­fec­tively treat emer­gency con­di­tions that arise later in a preg­nancy. There is an ex­cep­tion for abor­tions that are nec­es­sary to save the life of the par­ent if it is in im­mi­nent phys­i­cal dan­ger, but that puts doc­tors in the un­ten­able po­si­tion of need­ing to be 100 per­cent cer­tain that with­out the abor­tion, their pa­tient would die.

If you were beg­ging a doc­tor to save your life, would you want them to waste pre­cious mo­ments weigh­ing whether they’ll be able to de­fend their de­ci­sion in a court of law? What is pro-life about that? Jane Hum­mer, jane­hum­mer@gmail.com

Vote “no” on Propo­si­tion 115,

which seeks to ban abor­tions af­ter 22 weeks. This propo­si­tion is flawed to its core, and, if en­acted, would force women to carry un­wanted preg­nan­cies and non-vi­able fe­tuses to term and strip all women of their rights in Colorado.

There is no med­i­cally nec­es­sary rea­son to ban abor­tions af­ter 22 weeks of preg­nancy. None. This is just an­other at­tempt at govern­ment in­ter­fer­ence with women’s lives. To make mat­ters worse, Prop 115 has no ex­cep­tions to this ban for rape, in­cest, or emo­tional or psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tions of the mother.

It seems in­sane to me that nearly 50 years af­ter Roe v. Wade was de­cided, and with wide­spread sup­port for abor­tion ac­cess from cit­i­zens within both po­lit­i­cal par­ties, that we have to re-lit­i­gate women’s rights to full ci­ti­zen­ship ev­ery year with a vo­cal mi­nor­ity.

Coloradans have rightly re­jected abor­tion bans three times in the last 12 years be­cause no one, man or woman, wants the govern­ment de­cid­ing what types of med­i­cal treat­ment we re­ceive. Nor do we want those de­ci­sions sec­ond guessed by govern­ment of­fi­cials or lo­cal law en­force­ment (which would be pos­si­ble if Prop 115 were en­acted).

The en­tire pur­pose of deny­ing women ac­cess to abor­tion is the rel­e­ga­tion of women to sec­ond-class cit­i­zens. I fully un­der­stand that many in the anti-choice move­ment have gen­uine and deeply held per­sonal be­liefs about abor­tions. But these be­liefs are per­sonal to them, and should not be forced upon the rest of us.

We Coloradans be­lieve in the Amer­i­can ideal of equal­ity and equal pro­tec­tion un­der the law. Propo­si­tion 115 is a di­rect as­sault on that ideal be­cause it will im­pose the re­quire­ment of preg­nancy, no mat­ter the cost or out­come, on women.

Colorado has it right and there is no rea­son to change the law. Let’s keep the de­ci­sion of an abor­tion where it right­fully be­longs, with the woman di­rectly af­fected by the preg­nancy. Say “no” to Prop 115. Doug Hamil­ton, hamil­ton1801@aim.com

We should not crim­i­nal­ize any as­pect of abor­tion. Propo­si­tion

115 aims to in­fringe upon a preg­nant per­son’s right to make a highly per­sonal de­ci­sion with her health care provider.

Ad­di­tion­ally, “late term” preg­nancy is a po­lit­i­cal con­struct and a boogey­man. The 22-week mark is ar­bi­trary. I saw a satire head­line re­cently that de­picted a French’s bill­board with a fe­tus and the head­line said: “This baby can taste French’s sig­na­ture sweet and tangy mus­tard, does he de­serve to die?”

That’s how ridicu­lous this propo­si­tion sounds to me.

Pro­po­nents of this mea­sure are ar­gu­ing that it’s a good thing that it only crim­i­nal­izes the provider and not the preg­nant per­son who re­ceives the pro­ce­dure. News flash: Crim­i­nal­iz­ing any­one in the equa­tion is still mak­ing the act crim­i­nal.

This is akin to why the Nordic model of de­crim­i­nal­iz­ing sex work is bad. The Nordic model crim­i­nal­izes the pur­chase, but not the sale of sex. Propo­si­tion 115 is the Nordic model of abor­tion, and it is ter­ri­ble.

Stop try­ing to crim­i­nal­ize abor­tion, folks. Let’s fo­cus on erad­i­cat­ing poverty and mak­ing con­di­tions more liv­able. Ad­mit that you are not pro life, you are just try­ing to con­trol other peo­ple’s de­ci­sions about their own bod­ies.

In a pa­per pub­lished in 2013 by Foster & Kim­port, it was found that rea­sons for late term abor­tions (not due to health rea­sons) had to do with lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges, such as find­ing a provider and se­cur­ing the nec­es­sary funds. Make abor­tion more ac­ces­si­ble to all peo­ple who choose the pro­ce­dure, and you may find that most do hap­pen ear­lier. Emily Duffy, duffy­lala@gmail.com

When I was younger, I was a one-is­sue voter on abor­tion. I couldn’t con­ceive of a law that would force a woman to carry a baby to term. It was her body and her busi­ness.

Es­pe­cially in cases of rape or the safety of the mother, I couldn’t see things any other way. With age, though, hope­fully, comes at least some wis­dom and now I see the world is gray, not the black and white of my ide­al­is­tic youth.

As with gun con­trol, this is an is­sue that will never be re­solved among the most ex­treme on each side. If some­one be­lieves that at the mo­ment of con­cep­tion a full hu­man be­ing ex­ists, then they will never be okay with abor­tion at any time, for it would be pure mur­der in their eyes. On the other ex­treme are the pro­choice ad­vo­cates who are okay with par­tial birth abor­tion. Many are not com­fort­able with such a thin line di­vid­ing le­gal abor­tion and first de­gree mur­der. Yet that is the law to­day.

The vast ma­jor­ity can agree on a rea­son­able com­pro­mise. The no­tion of com­pro­mise on fun­da­men­tal be­liefs is anath­ema, but in such a di­verse so­ci­ety, com­pro­mise paves the road to ci­vil­ity.

Hav­ing a limit on how late an abor­tion can oc­cur (with ex­cep­tions for the life of the mother) is rea­son­able. Par­tial birth abor­tion isn’t just un­rea­son­able, it’s il­log­i­cal. How can it be okay to kill a baby at one mo­ment and less than a minute later it’s mur­der? The cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance there is too great for most vot­ers. Al­most ev­ery other state has a limit on le­gal abor­tion as a re­sult of this moral quandary. Colorado needs to re­solve this as well.

With a new, con­ser­va­tive Supreme Court jus­tice be­ing nom­i­nated, the is­sue of abor­tion in­vokes pas­sion. Even if the Supreme Court were to over­turn Roe v. Wade, abor­tion in Colorado would re­main un­changed. As a state, we’ve set our own rules on abor­tion and ad­just­ing those rules to a rea­son­able com­pro­mise is wise. Bill Wright, bill­wright510@gmail.com

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