Colorado organizers fail to gather enough signatures to put anti-abortion measure on the ballot


Colorado organizers who sought to put an anti-abortion initiative on the ballot this November failed to gather enough signatures in time to qualify.

The proposed measure from the Colorado Life Initiative sought to declare “a living human child must not be intentionally dismembered, mutilated, poisoned, scalded, starved, stabbed, given toxic injections known to cause death, left to die of the elements for lack of warmth or nutrition, used for experimentation, or treated in any way inhumanely to cause intentional physical harm leading to intended death or intended to cause disability to otherwise healthy and functioning parts of the body of a child.”

For the purposes of the group’s initiative, a “living human child” exists “from the moment human life biologically begins at conception,” according to its website. 

The group needed to collect 124,238 signatures by the April 18 deadline. Faye Barnhart, co-sponsor of the measure, told CBS News that the group had collected “tens of thousands of signatures,” but fell short.

In a press release, the Colorado Life Initiative blamed abortion opponents they deemed “ProLife In Name Only” — even calling them “PLINOs” — as well as insufficient publicity and recruitment for its failure to obtain enough valid signatures. 

Barnhart told CBS News she’ll keep working on the issue and hopes to put forward another ballot measure in the next election. 

An abortion rights group, Coloradans for Reproductive Freedom, appears to have been more successful in its signature collection efforts. It hopes to put a constitutional amendment enshrining the right to an abortion on the ballot and submitted 230,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office on Thursday. The group’s signatures must now be validated by the secretary of state.

Abortion is legal in Colorado, but the abortion access constitutional amendment would prevent the government from taking away the right, and it would override a 1984 measure that prohibits health insurance from covering abortion care for “public employees and people on public insurance.” 

Abortion could be on the ballot in more than 10 states this November, and measures supporting the procedure have had success in each state where it has appeared on the ballot since Roe v. Wade was overturned, ending federal protections for the procedure. 

Although it has been handed back to the states, the issue has also become an integral part of President Biden’s reelection bid. Former President Donald Trump said the issue should be decided by the states. 

A CBS News poll showed that 57% of Americans believed the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe versus Wade was bad for the country, and they think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Additional polling shows that abortion is a motivating issue more for Democrats than for Republicans. A majority of women, younger voters and those with college degrees — all groups that tend to favor legalized abortion — said the issue of abortion will be a major factor for them in the election.

Jennifer De Pinto contributed to this report.



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