Voters in Colorado have a chance to outlaw abortion in their state through an initiative that will appear on their Election Day ballots.
Proposition 115, which would penalize abortion providers with a Class 1 misdemeanor should they perform an abortion on an unborn baby that is older than 22 weeks of development, would effectively end the practice.
The option will appear alongside congressional and presidential candidates on the ballot.
“If Prop 115 is approved and enacted, a person who performs an abortion after that point is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and subject to a fine ($500 to $5,000), according to the measure’s language. A licensed practitioner would lose their license for at least three years. The patient would not be charged with a crime,” ABC News reports.
The proposition only allows performing an abortion to save the life of the mother, including potentially preventing her from garnering physical disorders, illnesses, and injuries.
Opponents of the bill argue it is too restrictive of a woman and her right to choose to end her own pregnancy. They also worry about the “disproportionate impact a ban could have on already marginalized communities,” ABC News adds.
Dr. Rebecca Cohen, an OB-GYN in the state who spoke with ABC News, said the initiative could limit her options as a healthcare professional as she would not be able to terminate the pregnancy until the mother’s life is in danger, even if the mother’s health is in decline as a result of the pregnancy.
“As a practicing physician, it’s unethical for me to allow a medical situation to progress to the point that someone’s life is immediately in danger,” she said.
According to the report, Colorado cardiologist Dr. James Monaco similarly argued the bill could result in “unnecessary maternal deaths.”
Proponents of the initiative contend its passage could save countless viable unborn babies.
ABC News reports abortions past 22 weeks are rare. These terminations only makeup about 1.2 percent of abortions across the country:
The most common reason patients seek an abortion at that stage, Cohen said, “is because they have new information about the pregnancy.” That includes ultrasounds and tests at and after the 20-week mark that demonstrate serious issues in the development of the fetus.
Some patients are pushed past the 22-week mark by seeking further testing and opinions, or by restrictions on abortions in other states that necessitate traveling to Colorado (and getting the funding together for travel, health care, housing and possibly child care).
Patients may also face health conditions themselves, like exacerbated cardiac issues or the development of cancer or seizures, Cohen said.