Colorado committee rejects ‘Personhood’ bill after over 60 people testify

In this screenshot from The Colorado Channel, Republican state Representative Scott Bottoms addresses the proposed resolution on the Equal Rights Amendment at the Colorado Capitol on March 2, 2023.

A bill proposing the concept of “personhood,” introduced by a Republican state representative, was rejected by a Colorado committee on Monday. The committee heard testimonies from advocates representing different perspectives on the matter before making their decision.

Colorado state Rep. Scott Bottoms, a Republican from Colorado Springs, recently proposed a bill called House Bill 24-1224. This legislation aimed to grant “person” status to fetuses from the moment of conception, effectively prohibiting abortion in Colorado. Additionally, this bill posed a potential threat to other reproductive health treatments, such as in vitro fertilization.

During the committee hearing, multiple members from the Democratic-controlled State, Civic, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee sought clarification from Bottoms regarding any exemptions in the bill to protect the life of a pregnant individual or in cases of rape or incest. However, Bottoms failed to provide a definitive response.

State Representative Andrew Boesenecker, a Fort Collins Democrat, expressed his concern to Bottoms regarding the absence of exemptions in the bill text. Boesenecker, who shared that his wife had undergone an abortion to protect her life, emphasized the importance of including such provisions.

Boesenecker posed a direct question to Bottoms, pondering the fate of his wife. He asked, “Should my wife be dead, or should she be in jail?”

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Several witnesses, including Bottoms, drew comparisons between abortion and historical atrocities like the Holocaust and slavery. The bill, which was primarily sponsored by Bottoms but also had the support of 12 other Republican caucus members, aimed to address these concerns.

Many individuals who supported the bill expressed their views based on religious beliefs, drawing parallels between abortion and murder. The bill itself explicitly articulates its religious foundation, stating that “innocent human life, created in the image of God, should be equally safeguarded by the law from the moment of conception until natural death.”

According to Duffy, those who claim that an abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman are clearly uninformed about modern medical procedures.

According to Duffy, having medical credentials is not a requirement to comprehend human reproduction and the creation of human life. He strongly believes that birth control, despite its intention to prevent birth, ultimately ends a baby’s life. As a result, he advocates for the prohibition of birth control under the bill.

I have a simple question for you: Should my wife be dead, or should she be in jail?

“Rep. Andrew Boesenecker expressed his thoughts to Rep. Scott Bottoms.”

Opposition to the bill came from a variety of organizations, including Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, New Era Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, among others.

Audrey Hartfield, a graduate student fellow at Cobalt Advocates, a reproductive rights advocacy organization based in Colorado, argues that the notion of fetal personhood is merely an ideological concept devoid of medical, scientific, or factual basis. According to Hartfield, it is utilized as a means to impose severe restrictions on abortion. She further adds that the Colorado Legislature has rejected 14 previous attempts to outlaw abortion within the state, and similar measures have also been voted down by the residents of Colorado.

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According to Hartfield, Coloradans have consistently emphasized that the government should not interfere with an individual’s choice to have an abortion. Additionally, the data supports this perspective. Hartfield asserts that states with comprehensive abortion protections have better maternal and infant health outcomes compared to states with total abortion bans, including lower rates of mortality.

The bill received support from all Republicans, while all Democrats opposed it, showing a clear division along party lines. During the hearing, both legislators and witnesses expressed criticism towards Colorado’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, which established the legal protection for abortion services in the state.

Democratic state Representative Jenny Willford, a Northglenn Democrat, expressed her disagreement with the bill, stating that it was extreme and disconnected from the opinions of Colorado voters.

According to Willford, it is important to clarify that bills like 1224 are ineffective in safeguarding people’s health and well-being. He believes that such legislation is not about promoting accountability, but rather about exerting control over the bodies of pregnant individuals.

Monica Duran, a Wheat Ridge Democrat and Majority Leader, expressed her thoughts to reporters on Tuesday, highlighting the significance of Colorado’s commitment to ensuring access to reproductive health care. She emphasized that the bill’s failure sends a strong message about the state’s stance on this issue.

Duran expressed his strong opposition to the attack, stating that it aimed to criminalize various aspects that are unnecessary. He emphasized that they would persist in their fight and support their choices and the voices that speak out. Duran commended their state and legislators for their dedicated work on this matter.

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Personhood bills and bills that specifically target in vitro fertilization (IVF) have emerged in various state legislatures across the country this year. These bills have successfully passed in several states that are controlled by the Republican party.

The ‘Personhood’ bill dies in Colorado committee after more than 60 people testify, according to Colorado Newsline.

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