DENVER — Colorado Democrats defeated Tuesday a bill to require doctors to treat infants born alive after a botched abortion over the objections of Republicans who said the legislation was needed to prevent infanticide.
The Born Alive Child Physician Relationship Act was defeated on a 6-3 party-line vote after being assigned to the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, known in the state legislature as the “kill committee.”
“We must look at ourselves and decide what kind of a society we are,” said Republican state Rep. Shane Sandridge, the bill’s sponsor, in a statement. “This is not an abortion bill, this is a murder bill.”
A second pro-life bill, H.B. 1098, which would have barred abortions after 22 weeks, was also sunk on a 6-3 vote by Democrats, who control both houses of the state legislature.
“Both of these bills had support from Coloradans across all political spectrums and neither received a fair hearing in the ‘Kill’ Committee,” said Colorado House Republicans. “We will always stand in defense of life. It is our duty to defend those who can’t defend themselves.”
Lizzy Hinkley, ACLU of Colorado reproductive rights policy counsel, blasted bills like H.B. 1068 as “political props to further stigmatize abortion.”
“Fact check: Bills like #HB1068 (the so-called born alive bill) aren’t necessary. If such a thing was happening in CO – and it isn’t – our criminal laws have it covered. This is another attempt to demean & demonize abortion providers,” she tweeted.
Under the bill, failing to provide “appropriate medical treatment” to infants born alive would be a Class 3 felony subject to a $100,000 fine and up to 12 years in jail. Only doctors would be held liable, not pregnant women.
“If such a thing was happening in CO – and it isn’t – our criminal laws have it covered. This is another attempt to demean & demonize abortion providers,” tweeted Ms. Hinkley.
The House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, A.K.A. the “Kill” Committee, just voted down bills that would have ended Late-term Abortions (HB20-1098) and Born-Alive Abortions (HB20-1068). Thanks @RepDaveWilliams and Rep. Sandridge for bringing these bills. #coleg pic.twitter.com/yLQtBoHjCL— CO House Republicans (@COHouseGOP) February 12, 2020
With their so called “born alive” bill and ban on abortions later in pregnancy, Republicans are ignoring science, medical consensus, and a woman’s right to the full range of reproductive care — INCLUDING ABORTION.#CoLeg #CoPolitics— COHouseDems (@COHouseDem) February 11, 2020
🚨Fact check: Bills like #HB1068 (the so-called born alive bill) aren’t necessary. If such a thing was happening in CO – and it isn’t – our criminal laws have it covered. This is another attempt to demean & demonize abortion providers. #coleg #BansOffColorado @ACLUofColorado pic.twitter.com/uNiAv4GOme— Lizzy Hinkley (@lizzy_hinkley) February 11, 2020
Disagreeing was Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, who noted that the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List has documented 270 born-alive infants after abortions. The Centers for Disease Control reported at least 143 born-alive infants from 2003-14.
“I’ve had people comment on this who are pro-choice, that this should be a no-brainer,” said Mr. Hunt. “The child is outside the womb. If you listen to pro-choice advocates, they don’t believe life begins until the child has breath in its lungs. Well, here are children with breath in their lungs. These are helpless children in need of medical care, and we’re refusing to mandate that care.”
In Colorado, the Coalition for Women and Children is collecting signatures for a proposed November ballot measure that would ban abortions after 22 weeks except to save the life of the mother. Medical personnel who violate the ban would be subject to fines, but pregnant women would not be penalized.
In the Democratic state legislature, “there’s no willingness whatsoever to put any type of guardrails on abortion,” said Mr. Hunt.
“In Colorado, it’s wide open, and they won’t touch any type of commonsense infanticide bills, period,” he said. “The reason is that it could possibly in some cases limit a woman’s access to abortion.”
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