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Three Antiabortion-Rights Bill Introduced in Colo. House

February 2, 2016 — Colorado lawmakers have proposed three antiabortion-rights measures in the state House, the Colorado Independent reports.

The measures are among several antiabortion-rights bills that conservative lawmakers plan to introduce this year in the state House and Senate. According to the Independent, the proposals are not expected to pass.

Details of House Bills

One of the three House bills (HB 16-1007) would allow people to be charged with homicide or other forms of assault if they commit a criminal act that results in the termination of a pregnancy. According to the Independent, the measure could apply to criminal actions that occur at any point during pregnancy.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Janak Joshi (R), has been assigned to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee. State Senate President Bill Cadman (R) introduced a similar measure (SB 15-268) last year.

Another bill, proposed by state Rep. Stephen Humphrey (R), would make it a class 1 felony to provide abortion care except when the woman's life is in danger. A class 1 felony, "the harshest penalty under state law," can carry a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty, the Independent reports. The bill would not penalize women who seek abortion care. It has been assigned to the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

The third measure (HB 16-1146) is modeled on a 2002 antiabortion-rights federal law called the "Born Alive Infants Protection Act." The bill, sponsored by Reps. Lois Landgraf (R) and Lang Sias (R), was assigned to the House State Affairs Committee.

Comments

Sarah Taylor-Nanista, of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said the proposed and expected antiabortion-rights bills introduced this year aim to "chip away at abortion rights" rather than challenge Roe v. Wade directly. "We expect there will be numerous bills we need to fight this session, and they will take many forms -- attempts to restrict clinic operations, funding battles and others," she said, adding, "All of these efforts are aimed directly at restricting abortion rights for Colorado women, and we won't let that happen."

According to the Independent, abortion-rights supporters have voiced concern that HB 16-1007 could lead to "personhood" measures that contend life starts at conception. Further, abortion-rights supporters said the measure is redundant because "unlawful termination" -- the ending of a pregnancy without the pregnant person's consent -- is already criminalized under state law.

Separately, physicians have expressed concern that Humphrey's bill would bar them from providing patients with the "best individual health care possible," theIndependent reports.

Regarding HB 16-1146, Taylor-Nanista noted there is not a history of such cases in the state. She said that legislation on the topic aims to discourage physicians from offering abortion care. Further, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado in a report noted that such legislation "increases threats to and risks for doctors who provide abortions after the second trimester."

Separately, state House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D) said she was tired of conservative state lawmakers "continuing to send these very extreme bills on women's right to choose." She added, "I would simply say a woman's right to make her own medical decisions with her doctor is none of their damn business."