The Corner

Elections

Colorado Voters to Decide Ballot Measure Restricting Late-Term Abortion

(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

In Colorado today, voters will decide a ballot initiative that would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, with an exception for cases when a physician deems abortion necessary to save the mother’s life. Colorado is one of the states with the fewest protections for unborn children; the state currently has no gestational restrictions on abortion.

This ballot measure, Proposition 115, is the fourth attempt in Colorado over the last decade to enact a pro-life policy via ballot initiative, but it is the least restrictive one proposed yet. In 2008 and 2010, the state proposed ballot measures that would have defined all unborn human beings as “persons” under state law. Both of those measures failed by a margin of about 45 percent.

In 2014, the Colorado ballot featured a similar effort, which would have defined unborn children as “persons” via an amendment to the state constitution. That effort failed by a 30-point margin.

Nevertheless, polling of voter sentiment on this year’s pro-life ballot initiative suggests that the result could be close. A mid-October survey from the American Politics Research Lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder found that 45 percent of likely voters said they oppose the measure, 41 percent support it, and 17 were undecided.

A second mid-October poll, conducted by Civiqs on behalf of Daily Kos, surveyed more than 1,000 likely voters in Colorado and found that 42 support Proposition 115, while 51 percent oppose it and 7 percent said they were unsure.

Another poll of some registered voters and some likely voters, conducted by SurveyUSA in early October, also found that public opinion was fairly even on the measure. Forty-two percent of respondents said they would support the abortion restriction, 45 percent said they would oppose it, and 13 percent said they were unsure.

Interestingly, almost one-third of Democratic respondents said they planned to back the pro-life measure, aligning with most public-opinion polling, which suggests that most Democrats tend to favor protections for unborn children later in pregnancy, especially after the point that they can survive outside the womb.