(March 15) – The House gave preliminary approval today to a bill that will give prosecutors new tools to charge those who intentionally or recklessly cause a woman to lose her pregnancy.

HB13-1154, sponsored by Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette) and Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder), creates a new category of crime: unlawful termination of pregnancy.

“Right now a drunk driver can run into another vehicle containing a woman and cause that woman to lose her pregnancy as a result,” Rep. Foote told the House. “And the only thing that drunk driver can be prosecuted for is misdemeanor DUI and traffic offenses.

“That’s wrong, and House Bill 1154 will change that,” he continued. “And it does it specifically by not assigning the status of personhood to the pregnancy.”

The bill is similar to one introduced by Rep. Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs) in 2011, that went so far as to repeal criminal abortion statutes. Last year, after buckling to pressure, a Republican bill was introduced that was not about pregnant women but about “unborn children,” conferring personhood on fetuses.

In statewide referendums, the people of Colorado have voted twice, decisively, against amendments to add fetal personhood to the state constitution. Yet House Republicans offered a bill again this year to legislate personhood, and from their arguments against HB13-1154, and their attempts to amend it, it was clear that they still would rather impose personhood, and defy the clearly expressed will of the people of Colorado, than stand up for the protection of pregnant women.

Four separate Republican amendments to criminalize abortion died today on party-line votes.

“I know some folks would like personhood in this bill, but the voters have said no to personhood,” Rep. Levy told the House. “We are doing what we can do, consistent with the will of the people, to protect pregnant women.”

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