Colorado Rep. Steve Humphrey is crusading to make abortion a felony in the same state that was the first to legalize it.
“I ran as a pro-life candidate and this is an issue that is important to my constituents. This should not be a surprise to anybody,” said Humphrey, sponsor of the HB 1133 bill banning abortion across the board, as reported by the Finance Post.
“My constituents, whom I represent, feel strongly about this issue and I owe it to them to attempt to advance this issue. I realize this is an emotional issue and my intent is not to rub someone’s nose in the issue, but when we’re talking about protecting human life this is a discussion that we need to have.”
The bill intends “to make the practice of abortion illegal in the state of Colorado” by punishing it as a felony, even in instances of rape or incest. Abortion is not punishable only if a doctor unintentionally aborts a fetus while trying to save a mother’s life. The bill specifies that pregnant women are not subject to criminal penalty.
The bill extends past doctors: it makes it a crime for individuals to harm women with the intention of terminating a pregnancy, or for a person to drive a vehicle or bicycle recklessly, leading to the termination of a pregnancy.
The bill comes as a response to the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder for performing abortions in squalid conditions, snipping the spines of infants who remained alive for minutes after the procedure was performed.
But pro-choice advocates do not see the bill as a fix for poor abortion practices.
“This bill could result in jailing doctors. A Class 3 felony is a minimum 4-12 year sentence,” said Karen Middleton with NARAL Pro-choice Colorado. “This bill is an insult to Colorado women and Colorado physicians, and out of touch with Colorado voters.”
Christy Rodriguez, executive director of Colorado Campaign for Life and a vocal supporter of the legislation, says that she knows about the horrors of abortion from personal experience.
“I was one of those desperate women. Years ago I [had] an abortion in New York in downtown Manhattan. I know what it is like to be treated like cattle in an abortion mill,” Rodriguez said. “I also know coming through an abortion is one of the saddest and intense issues a woman has to go through. I have to live with the thought of knowing I killed another human being.”
The contentious bill, introduced Thursday, is expected to be struck down by House Democrats. A similar bill died in the House last year.
“Been there, done that,” said Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, about the proposal. “Colorado is not going to deny a woman’s right to choose or allow the government to meddle in the private relationship between a woman and her doctor. And similar measures in other states have repeatedly been ruled unconstitutional. The sponsors of these bills are setting a new standard for being out of touch.”