A Republican Dilemma: The Abortion Bill Died; Personhood Lingers
Two staunch pro-life Republicans, Mark Waller and Bob Gardner, both from Colorado Springs, joined seven Democrats on the committee to oppose the bill. They applauded Humphrey for staking out high ground with his bill, but said they unfortunately would vote against it, given that federal law as it stands today made the bill unconstitutional.
“It may be the right moral position, and yet I have to live within the holdings we have and what can be done,” said Gardner. “That’s why I have to respectfully vote no on the bill.”
It’s another intense election year in swing-state Colorado, made more intense by the fact that it’s a midterm election year, where lower voter turnout will give the state’s minority Republican Party a better shot at winning back control of at least one of the legislative chambers.
But Colorado is a pro-choice state. Voters here have defeated proposed personhood amendments in landslides twice at the polls since 2008. In key swing-districts, where registered women outnumber registered men and the number of independent voters essentially matches the numbers of Republican and Democratic voters, a bill like Humphrey’s is a political liability. The bill, HB 1133, would have granted legal status to fertilized human eggs, outlawed abortion in almost all cases — including cases of rape and incest — ended much fertility research and treatment in the state and put doctors at risk of felony convictions for treating myriad complications of pregnancy and childbirth.