Decline the abortion-ban petition 

– Katie Young, Durango - 05/21/2020

To the editor,

The COVID-19 crisis is stressful enough. People in Colorado are worried about their jobs, their families and their futures. During this uncertain time, living our Colorado values and being able to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families, free from interference – including when or if to have children – becomes even more important. 

Instead, in remarkably distasteful fashion, anti-abortion activists and politicians in several states are using COVID-19 as an excuse to try and ban abortion, including here in Colorado. 

Proponents of a ballot measure that would ban abortion after 22 weeks have used COVID-19 as a stalling technique to argue the rules don’t apply to them. They think they should have exceptions other ballot measure proponents don’t and be given more time to collect signatures. They’ve even filed a lawsuit on this, taking up precious time and public funding we can’t spare right now. 

A majority of Colorado voters consistently believe the government does not have the right to meddle in our personal medical decisions and our reproductive health. Coloradans have repeatedly rejected abortion bans at the ballot box: in 2008, 2010 and 2014. 

There are a variety of reasons why someone may need an abortion after 22 weeks. Some people face complications later in pregnancy that can put their health at risk. If someone is planning for a child but discovers medical complications, the last thing they need is political interference as they make the best decision for themselves and their family. There are also instances when people are forced to delay getting an abortion because of costs, lack of insurance, travel or other barriers. Every pregnancy is different and health and safety should guide these important decisions, not politics. More so, this ban has no exceptions for rape or incest. 

Right now, the ballot measure proponents are almost 10,000 signatures short. They will soon have a cure period to go out and collect the amount of signatures they need now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted. 

Using COVID-19 as political cover to try and force women and families who are likely already facing job loss and economic hardship to continue an unintended or nonviable pregnancy is tone deaf at best, insidious at worst. Having the means to travel and get abortion care in rural areas is hard enough as it is. These people are trying to make it even harder.

If you are offered an abortion-ban petition, decline to sign. Coloradans are more than capable of making our own choices about our reproductive health care. We don’t need the government to interfere with these private, personal decisions.