More than 150,000 Coloradans signed a petition to put Prop. 115 on the ballot. Day characterized these signers as “a diverse group of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.”
Day told CNA that “19,000 Democrats alone signed the petition. Self-identified ‘pro-choice’ men and women voters signed the petition because they realized that late-term abortions are just too extreme.”
“Coloradans are compassionate, fair and reasonable,” Day continued. “People are very surprised to learn that late-term abortion even exists in our beautiful state.”
Opponents of the measure have a significant cash advantage in the weeks before the election.
About $276,000 in monetary and other contributions have gone to groups supporting the proposition, like the Coalition for Women and Children, according to records from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver so far has been the largest donor, giving about $50,000 to support the campaign, followed by several donors who have given $10,000 to $12,000 apiece.
Foes of the measure have given over $5.7 million in cash and other contributions, mainly to the group Abortion Access for All. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has given over $1.15 million, the D.C.-based North Fund has given $1 million, and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund has given over $500,000. Cobalt Advocates, formerly known as NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, has given over $438,000 and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has given $400,000.
“Our campaign relies on grassroots door knocking, phone calling, and texting,” Day told CNA. “Prop. 115 supporters are actively engaged in getting the word out about Prop 115. They are also proudly displaying YES on 115 signs in their yards and gathering at intersections throughout Colorado. It is our passion that is our secret to success.”
Colorado currently has no laws regulating late-term abortion, the state is one of just seven in the country where abortions can take place up until birth. Each year, about 200 to 300 babies are aborted after 21-weeks gestation in the state.
Asked what she would say to undecided voters, Day said abortion at 22 weeks is “especially barbaric.” The dilation and evacuation procedure used means “the systematic dismemberment of the fetus followed by crushing the head before the remaining torso is extracted.”
“This would result in unimaginable fetal pain and suffering,” she said. “Sometimes a poison is administered before the (dilation and evacuation) which causes intense nausea, retching, pain, and delirium before the fetus dies over a period of minutes to hours--sometimes as long as 24 hours.”
“Late term abortions generally take 2-4 days to complete and a delivery can be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes,” she said.
“The late term abortionist Warren Hern instructs his patients to anticipate ‘kicks’ for hours after the feticide is administered,” Day continued. “When the digoxin fails to kill the baby during the first attempt, the poisoning is repeated. This is a very traumatic experience for the woman and cruel e inhumane for the baby. We don't even treat animals this way.”
“If a preborn baby at 22-weeks can survive outside the mother’s womb, there’s no reason to kill her inside the womb,” said Day.
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The Catholic bishops of Colorado asked voters to support the ban in a June 30 letter and placed the ballot measure under the patronage of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, also known as Mother Cabrini, who aided orphans and immigrants in her time in Colorado.
“Ending the legal protection for abortion is the most important political objective of Colorado Catholics because these children are deprived of their right to live. While the late-term abortion ban will not ban abortion entirely, it does protect children who are older than 22 weeks’ gestation. This is a positive change from the status quo and promotes a ‘culture of life’ that values unborn children. It is a step in the right direction.”
If the ballot measure becomes law, doctors would face a three-year license suspension for performing or attempting to perform an abortion of an unborn child beyond 22-weeks of gestation. Women would not be charged with seeking or obtaining an abortion.
In 1984 Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment banning public funding of abortions except to prevent the death of the mother. In 1998 they passed an initiative requiring parental consent and a waiting period for minors who seek abortions.
Other measures have not succeeded. The 2008 and 2010 Colorado ballots included two Personhood initiatives, which tried to define a person under state law to include every human being from the moment of fertilization or “from the beginning of biological development.” The 2008 proposal won under 27% approval from voters, while the 2010 proposal received under 30% of votes.
For Day, these efforts were part of “a complex argument that would have prohibited all abortions,” a goal which Coloradans did not approve. She characterized Prop. 115 as “a modest restriction after fetal viability when the baby can survive outside the womb if born prematurely.”