Oct 23, 2020 | OPINION | By Julia Chase | Illustration by Patil Khakhamian
Proposition 115 is the latest attack on women’s reproductive health and rights by “pro-life” organizations in Colorado.
Time and time again, the state constituency has voted for women’s rights and against misogynistic attempts to ban abortions. Coloradans have refused abortion bans three times in the last 12 years, trusting that women and their doctors are best suited to make unique and personal health decisions.
Colorado College students should continue this legacy and vote “no” on Proposition 115. Life-changing medical decisions should be left to a woman, her family, and her physician. Politics and ideologies should not dictate important personal health decisions.
Proposition 115 is a 22-week abortion ban initiative on the Nov. 3 ballot in Colorado. As per the proposition language, a prohibited abortion after 22 weeks could result in a $5,000 fine for the patient and a three-year medical license suspension for the medical professional — at minimum.
A vote for the proposition supports the prohibition of all abortions in Colorado after a fetus reaches 22 weeks gestational age. A vote against the proposition opposes such a ban, or any limits on the gestational age at which an abortion can be performed in the state.
The proposition coincides with the looming possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court could strike down Roe v. Wade, a case that deemed abortion a constitutional right in 1973. If this constitutional right is struck down by a misogynistic and conservative Supreme Court, Colorado’s current lack of restriction on abortions could be vital for women requiring abortions.
On the flip side, if Roe v. Wade is maintained and Proposition 115 is passed, groups who advocate for safe and accessible abortions plan on challenging the measure as a violation of constitutional rights.
This latest attempt to restrict abortions does not allow exceptions for instances of rape, incest, or lethal fetal diagnosis. Rather, Proposition 115 is arbitrary and one-size-fits-all, ignoring the reality that each pregnancy is unique. One doctor who opposes the ban, cited anonymously in a Sept. 25 Colorado Sun article, recalls treating a 12-year-old who was raped by an older male relative and did not come forward about the pregnancy until after 22 weeks. The proposition makes no exception for rape victims like her — if passed, rape victims in this situation would be forced to carry the fetus to term.
Other women may not discover fatal conditions until mid-pregnancy ultrasounds, where inadequate brain or lung development may be found in a fetus. Proposition 115 makes no exceptions for this scenario. A woman would be forced to bring a baby incapable of living to term. The statute is, very simply, cruel and unethical.
As a woman in her reproductive years, I am appalled that politics are still capable of interfering with a women’s medical health decisions. While I myself have never had an abortion, I can only imagine how traumatic and emotional the procedure can be, especially in circumstances as late as 22 weeks. I cannot imagine any women in that position doing so with ease. Yet, it is even harder for me to imagine facing such a situation and being denied by the state to do what I personally believe to be most ethical for both myself and the fetus inside of my body.
Please protect my right to do what I know is best and vote “no” on Proposition 115.