(Feb. 22) – Democrats on the House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee defeated a bill tonight that would have banned abortions in Colorado.

HB18-1225, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance, would have accorded civil rights to fetuses from the moment of fertilization. Health care providers who perform elective abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, could have faced the death penalty or life in prison.

“Women who choose to have abortions – they know what’s right for them,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, vice chairwoman of the committee. “Politicians should not be deciding these things. These are very personal moments between a woman and her doctor, and to criminalize those moments would be unjust to Coloradans.”

“I respect a woman’s right to make her own decisions,” said Rep. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora.

Fifty years ago, Colorado became the first state to offer legal abortions, and ballot measures to ban abortions by establishing personhood for fetuses have been rejected by Colorado voters three times in the last decade, each time decisively.

Earlier this evening, the Health, Insurance & Environment Committee Democrats defeated a bill that was intended to put unreasonable restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.

HB18-1082, sponsored by Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, was designed to interpose government between a pregnant woman and her doctor. The bill would have pushed pregnant women to undergo ultrasounds and imposed other medically unnecessary requirements, including 24-hour waiting times for abortions and forcing doctors to provide false or misleading information, such as the availability of an “abortion reversal” pill.

“We’ve been talking about a deeply personal and intimate issue that’s up to a woman and her doctor,” said Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, the chairwoman of the committee. “This bill would make access to abortion very difficult.”

“Women have a right to choose,” said Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver. “Women have a right to decide for themselves when – and if – to start a family. Government should not be making that choice.”

HB18-1225 and HB18-1082 both failed on party-line 6-7 votes.

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