There are a lot of myths about late-term abortion in the United States. One of the most common is the idea that post-viability elective abortion is illegal everywhere. That is definitely untrue. In fact there are seven states, including Colorado, in which there are no gestational limits on abortion at all.
Like the rest of the world, most Americans—including most pro-choice Americans—oppose late-term abortion. Only 28% of Americans believe abortion should be available after 13 weeks (Gallup), including only 40% of pro-choice people (Marist).
You may recall in early 2019 when New York state received a lot of backlash for expanding legal abortion through the third trimester. But even after loosening restrictions, New York still has more restricted abortion than Colorado has, because Colorado never pretended to outlaw late-term abortion to begin with. The state’s incredibly lax abortion laws are extreme by both national and international standards: only seven countries in the world allow unrestricted abortion after 20 weeks, including such champions of human rights as Vietnam, North Korea, and China. This is the company Colorado currently keeps, dramatically out of step with the views and ethics of most of its population.
Keep in mind that the major abortion lobby talking points on this issue are absolute nonsense. Late-term abortion is not rare and it’s not performed exclusively (or even primarily) for dire medical reasons (read a lot more here). Infamous late-term abortion provider Dr. Warren Hern (of Boulder, Colorado) has gone on record explaining he performs third trimester abortions for non-medical reasons, and he has published research explaining that even the “medically necessary” late-term abortions include such trivialities as a child having extra fingers or a cleft lip. In a 20-year period, about one fourth of the fetal anomaly abortions Hern’s clinic performed were simply because the children had Down syndrome. Keep in mind that babies born as early as 22 weeks can survive and grow into healthy infants, and the odds of doing so rise dramatically with each passing week.
If, like me, you find Colorado’s status quo abhorrent and grotesque, here’s your chance to fight back.
This November, Coloradans will have the opportunity to vote on Proposition 115, which bans abortion in the state after 22 weeks. The proposition makes a point of penalizing only those providing illegal late-term abortion, and not the women seeking it. It makes exceptions for miscarriage management, ectopic pregnancies, and any situation in which the woman’s life is physically threatened which can’t be remedied by simply inducing early delivery. Prop 115 is a very basic, common ground, moderate abortion restriction that we should be able to come together on quite easily.
Let’s end the insanity in Colorado. Here are ways you can help: