“Fetal Homicide” Bill Uses Anti-Abortion Group’s Model Language

UPDATE: Credit where due–in a report broadcast today, Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee becomes the first local reporter to correctly identify the origin of the language in Senate President Bill Cadman’s “fetal homicide” bill–a national anti-abortion group.

University of Colorado law professor Jennifer Hendricks testified that similar laws in other states have led to pregnant women being prosecuted for having miscarriages or taking drugs, in spite of similar protections.

“My concern that it will be interpreted much more broadly is not hypothetical. It is exactly how an Alabama Supreme Court interpreted a similar law,” Hendricks said.

Abortion rights supporters say a fetal homicide law could also have a chilling effect on access to abortion. The bill was modeled after legislation written by an anti-abortion group, [Pols emphasis] although the organization says it is not attempting to limit the procedure with this policy.

As we detail below, Americans United for Life most certainly is attempting to limit abortions as part of this legislative strategy–just a little over the horizon. Original post follows.

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Senate President Bill Cadman.

Senate President Bill Cadman.

As the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports, Senate Bill 15-268, the so-called “fetal homicide” bill introduced by GOP Senate President Bill Cadman last week as a “response” to the horrific attack on a pregnant Longmont women last month, passed its first hearing in the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee:

After a nearly five-hour hearing, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee backed the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote, with support from Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango.

“This bill, I don’t see it about abortion,” Roberts said. “I see it as criminal justice.”

Senate Bill 268 was introduced by Republican leaders in the waning days of the legislative session in reaction to a recent horrific event in Longmont in which a woman suffered as her 7-month-old fetus was cut from her womb by another woman. The fetus died.

The issue is mired in controversy, as pro-choice advocates say that the legislation would create so-called “personhood” in the state, which they fear would lead to arresting and charging women for murder simply for having an abortion…

“I support a woman’s right to choose, and for nine years in this building, my voting record shows that,” Roberts said. “It does not create personhood, and I’m very disappointed in those who have perpetuated that myth.”

Although the legislation contains vaguely-worded exemptions for “medical procedures” and acts “performed by the mother of her unborn child,” the fact remains that the bill grants legal rights to fetuses “at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” That provision, say opponents, is functionally identical to the Personhood ballot measures, and sets a dangerous precedent that could be used to undermine abortion rights in the future.

And there’s another problem that was pointed out in debate over this legislation yesterday by Democratic Sen. Andy Kerr: despite insistence from Cadman and other GOP supporters that this legislation is not meant to undermine abortion rights, Senate Bill 15-268 in fact uses verbatim model language supplied by Americans United for Life–one of the nation’s foremost anti-abortion advocacy groups. Here’s the model language from AUL in its entirety. And here’s the part that matters:

aulmodel

Compared to the relevant portion of Colorado Senate Bill 15-268:

sb268

For their part, Americans United for Life proudly noted in a press release yesterday that Senate Bill 15-268 is “based on AUL model legislation.” So it’s not like they’re being secretive about this. Despite that, we have yet to see any of the extensive press this issue is receiving note that Cadman’s bill is cribbed directly from “the nation’s premier pro-life legal team.” That’s how AUL describes themselves on their About Us page:

At the state, federal and international levels, AUL works to advance life issues through the law and does so through measures that can withstand judicial obstacles so that pro-life laws will be enforced. AUL knows that reversing Roe v. Wade can be accomplished through deliberate, legal strategies that accumulate victories, build momentum, and restore a culture of life. [Pols emphasis]

But AUL’s distinction extends beyond federal measures. AUL works at the state level to craft tailored strategies and legislative tools that will assist state and local officials as they defend and protect life…

[AUL] has been unparalleled in pointing the way to protecting women now, to limiting the abortion license created by the Supreme Court, and to preparing the ground to overturn Roe. [Pols emphasis]

This legislation is, by the explicit admission of its true authors, part of a much broader strategy to chip away at Roe v. Wade. What happens when the rights this legislation confers on unborn fetuses today are interpreted tomorrow to be “unjust” since they contain exemptions? Once you legitimize these legal rights from the moment of conception, you’ve set down exactly the path AUL wants you to be on as part of their long-term objective of overturning Roe v. Wade–and curtailing or eliminating abortion rights nationwide.

Bottom line: if you’re wondering why pro-choice advocates and their Democratic allies are suspicious of ulterior motives at work here, you can stop wondering. Beneath the veneer of a “response” to last month’s horrific crime, a longstanding agenda to attack abortion rights is what this whole debate is about.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 23)

By the end of the week, the black market for carnitas will be booming. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► After five months of waiting, the U.S. Senate is finally on the cusp of confirming President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner announced this morning that he planned to vote NO on Lynch’s confirmation. Seriously.

► There is a concerted effort underway in Jefferson County to “destroy” the teacher’s union, as Colorado Pols reported late yesterday. Jon Caldara and the Independence Institute may need to work fast — Julie Williams and the right-wing Jeffco School Board might just “destroy” the entire school district first.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 22)

GetMoreSmarter-EarthHappy Earth Day! Or, if you’re into that kind of thing, Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Angry) is the Chair of the House Veterans’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. It is supposed to be his job to provide oversight for stuff like, say, a complete mess of a VA Hospital project in Aurora. Coffman may not have much in the way of solutions for the VA’s problems, but that isn’t stopping him from raising money off of the scandal. Coffman’s spokesman had a bunch of gibberish to say in response to these allegations, but the best line of the story — which was picked up nationally — comes from Lynn Bartels in “The Spot” blog:

Less than six months ago, Coffman posted on his congressional web site an opinion piece thanking him for not being one of the members of Congress using the VA problems for fundraising.

D’oh!

Fetal homicide Personhood legislation will be introduced today in the State Senate.

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) apparently doesn’t think the Sage Grouse is so greater. As Bruce Finley of the Denver Post reports:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner will introduce legislation in Congress on Wednesday that would bar the federal government from listing greater sage grouse as endangered and give western states six more years to revive grouse populations on their own…

…”We have an obligation to future generations to conserve and recover this species,” [said Gardner]. “But we can do it on our terms. Let’s put Coloradans in charge, let’s put Westerners in charge of the West.”

“Let’s put Westerners in charge of the West!” Who comes up with this crap?

 
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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 21)

We’ve been up early celebrating 4/21. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The U.S. Senate may finally get around to voting on President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. If you had “five months” in the pool for “How long will it take for Republicans to approve a new Attorney General?” you might win some money.

► Look on the bright side, Rep. Ken Buck. You almost made it four whole months in D.C. without breaking the law. Don’t forget, Polsters: You read it here first.

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 20)

Heyy, mannn, happy 4/20! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Veterans Administration still needs about $830 million to complete the Aurora hospital project. It will cost about $340 million more just to get the thing up and running.

► “Fiscal thicket. Fiscal thicket. Fiscal thicket.” Say that as fast as you can. The Colorado legislature has signed off on the $25-ish billion budget, and it now heads to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper for final approval.

► Meanwhile, Gov. Hickenlooper is pushing a proposal for dealing with budget/TABOR problems that need to be changed in order to continue to maintain our infrastructure (you know, roads and stuff). Most major business groups support Hickenlooper’s proposal, but the Koch-funded “Americans for Prosperity Potholes” is jumping around and shrieking like monkeys while trying to claim that this is some sort of tax increase (it’s not). Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner may poop in the punchbowl today.

 

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Who Is Polling Laura Woods’ District?

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

We received word today of a live poll conducted this past weekend in Colorado Senate District 19, the highly competitive Jefferson County district currently represented by Sen. Laura Waters Woods. Back in February, we noted rumors that Republicans are looking for a primary opponent for Woods–or a replacement in the unlikely event she would agree to step aside–out of concern that she won’t be able to hold this pivotal seat against a strong Democratic challenger in 2016. We haven’t yet received audio of this weekend’s poll, but here’s a description we were forwarded:

It was a live survey and lasted between five and ten minutes. The first question was favorable/unfavorable regarding Sen. Woods. Answering unfavorable, the pollster then asked if the receipient could be persuaded to support a different Republican candidate [Pols emphasis] and ask what issues might be persuasive. No other candidates were mentioned by name.

The Woods questions were followed by issue questions about guns, abortion, TABOR, tax credits for the poor, and health care. Finally, the survey asked about support for Jeffco school board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams.

Democrats we’ve spoken to say their side is not responsible for this poll, and the questions as recounted to us–whether respondents would support a different Republican candidate–do not point to a Democratic source. We haven’t heard any names mentioned as potential Republican primary challengers for Sen. Woods, but we wouldn’t expect to hear about them until there’s enough data to persuade one to undertake the challenge.

And to obtain that, you need polling. Stay tuned, we don’t think GOP intentions in SD-19 will be a mystery for very long. As soon as we learn who exactly is shadowing this most contentious of 2016 state legislative races, we’ll update.

All Hail Dudley Brown. Or Not.

kneelzod1UPDATE: More on the “failed coup attempt” from the Colorado Statesman.

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Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post has more today on the bizarre coup attempt from a handful of Republican legislators doing the desperate bidding of Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).

As you read yesterday at Colorado Pols, Brown called into a conservative radio station to simultaneously complain and brag about Republicans pulling an unheard-of legislative maneuver on the House Floor. Bartels caught up with some GOP legislators yesterday, and they were not at all pleased with the kneeling:

The schism among conservatives over Colorado’s gun laws widened this week when four House Republicans formed a secret pact and pushed for a procedural move that exposes five members to potentially tough primaries in 2016.

“It was a clever idea, but it put some people in a very bad position,” said Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose. “We’re going to be talking about this until the end of the session.”…

…Senate Bill 175 died Monday in a Democratic-controlled House committee, but four GOP representatives — Steve Humphrey of Severance, Justin Everett of Littleton, Kim Ransom of Douglas County and Patrick Neville of Castle Rock — hatched a plan to try to resurrect the failed effort to repeal the ammunition ban so that it could be debated on the House floor.

“We forced a recorded vote,” [Dudley] Brown said on 630 KHOW radio Thursday. “Five Republicans voted wrong and all five of them are suspect and in danger in the next primary.” [Pols emphasis]

Reps. Brian DelGrosso and Polly Lawrence: Republicans in Charge by Title Only

Republicans In Charge by Title Only: Reps. Brian DelGrosso and Polly Lawrence await Dudley Brown’s instructions.

As noted by the Post, 26 Republican legislators supported the failed procedural move, including House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso and Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence. It would appear as though Rep. Lawrence was not a big fan of the strategy — even though she supported it — because she had no idea it was coming.

Lawrence said GOP leadership was blindsided.

“Some communication would have been nice,” she said. “What happened on the floor was unnecessary.”

For years Republicans have used the term “RINO” (Republicans In Name Only) to describe other Republicans who don’t act sufficiently Republican enough.

Maybe it’s time for a new acronym. May we suggest: RICTO (Republicans in Charge by Title Only).

 

Get More Smarter on Friday (April 17)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1Rain, or snow? Yes! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking a big step forward in urging the legislature to do more to deal with Colorado’s fiscal/TABOR woes. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem a bit confused at the timing of Hickenlooper’s “Fiscal Thicket” plan, given that only four weeks remain in the current legislative session.

► The U.S. Senate will hold a field hearing on the status of the VA Hospital project in Aurora next Friday. As Mark Matthews writes for the Denver Post:

A day after the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs ripped into the VA for its role in building a new Colorado hospital now expected to cost $1.73 billion — more than five times its original estimate — the Senate veterans’ affairs committee announced plans to hold a field hearing on the issue April 24 in Aurora.

Colorado Sens. and had urged their colleagues to visit the state to investigate the troubled project, which has been beset by delays, cost overruns, and legal battles.

Do we really need the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs to come to Aurora to understand that the hospital project is a complete mess?

 
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Senate Republicans Just Get Weirder and Weirder

Have you met Senator Facepalm?

Have you met Senator Facepalm?

The first Colorado legislative session in a decade with Republicans leading the State Senate has been a strange trip. From a forehead-slapping focus on immunizations to the unpredictable antics of Sen. Vicki “Lost” Marble, we’ve witnessed more odd behavior than a full summer sitting in the Coors Field Rockpile…and there’s still a month left to go.

Today, 6 Senate Republicans cast very odd votes on an otherwise innocuous piece of legislation. According to a press release from the Senate Democrats (full release after the jump), SB15-011 doesn’t appear to be all that controversial:

The bill (SB 15-011) would allow a pilot program providing complementary and alternative medicine for spinal injuries to continue until 2020.

Sen. [Nancy] Todd started the program back in 2009, but it is currently scheduled to sunset in September 2015. The intent of the pilot program included expanding the choice of therapies available to people with disabilities. The bill today ensures that “complementary or alternative medicine” is available for Coloradans with spinal injuries to receive chiropractic care, massage therapy, and acupuncture by licensed or certified providers. It would also expand access to the program from its current 67 people to 100 people. [Pols emphasis]

The bill ultimately passed the Senate 29-6 vote. The opposition: Sen. Tim Neville, Sen. Laura Woods, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, Sen. Chris Holbert, Sen. Vicki Marble, and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. 

Why? Why would you vote against this bill? It’s not a huge expense, it’s a big help to a number of families in Colorado, and it clearly had the votes to pass out of the Senate.

This isn’t as big of a deal to somebody like Sen. Marble, who is fairly safe in her Senate district; but why would Sen. Laura Waters Woods vote NO here? Woods will almost certainly be the top pickup target for Democrats in 2016, and it’s unexplainable votes like this that make for compelling advertising.

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On radio, RMGO’s Brown talks as if he owns the GOP Senate majority

(Doesn’t he? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dudley Brown.

Dudley Brown.

Before she interviewed Dudley Brown, who spontaneously called her show this morning, KHOW 760-AM’s Mandy Connell told her listeners she had no opinion about Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which Brown directs.

After the interview, Connell, an arch conservative, said she had an opinion–and I’m guessing you will too if you listen below.

In this case, Brown talked as if he has more of a right to interfere in gun legislation at the state Capitol than the Independence Institute has because RMGO bought and paid for the state GOP Senate majority.  And he went on about it, implying he’d organize primaries against five Republicans who voted against a violation of state Senate rules yesterday.

Connell started the conversation, which was first reported by Complete Colorado, with a question about why RMGO was opposed to raising the limit on magazine capacity from 15 to 30 rounds.

Then she asked, “So, why take out Dave Kopel?  Why go after him?”

Brown: Well, look, I don’t want to go into personalities on a public format. Dave Kopel is a wonderful writer. On strategy, he’s horrid! Dave Kopel is actually a Democrat. He has always advocated for compromise at every single turn. Every time we’ve ever had a gun bill in Colorado, he’s always advocated for compromise. And in fact, Dave Kopel is the one who fixed the Democrats mag ban so it did not include shotguns. He showed Senator Mary Hodge how to do it, mechanically. Probably being the one who enabled it to pass. Now, I have no qualms about being honest. But in politics, I don’t want it to be about personality. I want it to be about principle and strategy.

But, in all honesty, we simply don’t agree with Dave Kopel and never have, and for that matter, the Independence Institute, none of whom got these legislators into office.

It’s our organization and our PAC that spent the money to elect the legislature and take the Senate from the Democrats. We were the biggest funders of Republican candidates in the last election. Far bigger than the NRA. And let me be clear, I don’t know if this is – you could ask them, but my understanding is even the NRA opposes this compromise. Now, if the NRA opposes a compromise because it’s too squishy on the gun issue, that pretty much means that it’s as far left as it can be because the NRA usually buys into every compromise. In this case, my understanding is that they opposed it, too. Look there aren’t the votes to pass a 31 round ban –the repeal of the 30 ban, to make it 31. But there aren’t the votes for repeal, unless the Republicans take the House and the Governor’s mansion, neither of which are assured…

Now, to those people who say, “Wait a minute!  I want to be able to buy my 30 round magazine!”  I say, “Shut your pie hole and go buy one!”  There are many retailers who sell them right now.  They ignore the law, and God Bless them for doing so. And in many cases, your District Attorney and your sheriff won’t be involved in any cases against you, anyway…

Connell said, “You’re saying, ‘Go break the law.’”

Brown: I’m saying, “Do what you want.” But, the fact is, the ban, really — it’s like jaywalking. There really is no ban, right now. It’s largely a ban on some of the businesses who manufacture and didn’t want to be here, anyway.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 16)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1Yes, we’re sick of the snow, too; you’re welcome, California. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado is strengthening its rules for childhood vaccinations. Colorado immunization rates are among the lowest in the nation, which is not good.

► What does “justice” have to do with “Personhood?” Absolutely nothing, of course, but get ready to hear that word another 10,000 times.

 

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You Can’t Spell “Justice” with “Personhood”

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

After weeks of internal discussions, State Senate President Bill Cadman introduced legislation yesterday that would change the definition of a “person” to include “an unborn person at every stage of gestation.” In other words, Personhood, the same general idea that Colorado voters have rejected like John Andrews reading a Log Cabin Republican application.

Cadman was interviewed this week by Denver Post reporter John Frank for a segment on “Denver Post TV,” and the Colorado Springs Republican must have said the word “justice” about 700 times in less than 5 minutes (no, seriously, watch it yourself). Unfortunately for Cadman, repeating the word “justice” doesn’t make his legislation (SB15-268) any more noble than repeating the word “Beetlejuice” will resurrect the ghost of Michael Keaton.

This is the point in the story where we could cut-and-paste the definition of “justice” from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but that’s a trite cliche that is not only unnecessary, but largely irrelevant when it comes to discussing SB-268. This legislation, titled “Concerning Offenses Against an Unborn Child,” is an attempt by Republicans to take another shot at getting “Personhood” on the books in Colorado; first, foremost, and everything else in between.

This bill, and the latest incarnation of this entire discussion, is the result of a horrific crime committed against a pregnant woman named Michelle Wilkins. But it does not right any wrongs. It does not fix any holes in the law. And it certainly won’t give Wilkins any more justice than she rightfully deserves. The alleged assailant in Longmont, Dynel Lane, is facing eight felony charges laid out by Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, as the Denver Post reported last month:

Dynel Lane, suspected of luring an expectant mother to her Longmont home last week and cutting out her unborn child, was charged Friday with eight felony counts in the attack, including first-degree unlawful termination of pregnancy…

…Lane, 34, also faces a charge of first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. Prosecutors also filed two counts of a crime of violence against Lane, which are sentence enhancers…

…Garnett said the counts filed are ones they believe they can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“She could get a very long sentence and very well die in prison,” Garnett said of Lane. [Pols emphasis]

 

In 2013, the Colorado Legislature passed the “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act,” a carefully balanced approach to increasing penalties for crimes against pregnant women while also protecting them from prosecution and essentially outlawing abortion altogether. Cadman proclaims loudly that this is not enough — that we need more laws on the books so that we can enact extra justice that won’t do anything to change the past or the future for anyone involved in the March 18 attack.

Will Dynel Lane be punished for her crimes? Is justice served if Lane spends the rest of her life in prison? Is this “justice” any more or less real because of the wording used in the criminal charges against her?

Inaction — or action — by the Colorado legislature WILL NOT SET LANE FREE. Let’s not forget this very important point. It is natural for elected officials to feel an over-inflated sense of importance during the fast-paced legislative session, and Cadman and his allies no doubt see this as a political opportunity that could help create a law (Personhood) that Coloradans do not want. This is our elected legislature we are talking about — we don’t give them judicial authority for a very good reason, and that shouldn’t change now.

So call this brazen legislative attempt whatever you want, even if you refuse to call it what it is.

Just don’t call it justice.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 15)

Does your Mom/Dad/Spouse/Significant Other work as an accountant? You might see them tomorrow! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► It’s Tax Day, which is a fitting time for the State Senate to discuss legislation to allow local governments to increase the minimum wage. The statewide minimum wage is $8.23 an hour, and more than 600,000 Coloradans earn less than $12 per hour. Meanwhile, Colorado Democrats are pushing to close offshore tax loopholes that could save the state millions of dollars every year.

► Ruh, roh! It’s starting to look like there was plenty of warning that the VA Hospital project in Aurora was going to get ridiculously expensive. Quick, Rep. Mike Coffman, put out a statement with some sort of military analogy!

 

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Say no to Personhood–again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Statement from Cathy Alderman of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado:

A recent bill, SB15-268, “Offenses Against Unborn Children,” would broaden Colorado’s definition of “person” to include an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” We are concerned that any law creating fetal “personhood” will impact access to abortion services in Colorado, as well as open a door to allowing prosecution of pregnant women.

Over the last few years Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado has worked with lawmakers to pass laws that punish crimes against pregnant women and their unborn fetuses. In 2013, the Colorado General Assembly succeeded in passing the Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act, which allows for a felony charge in the first degree for unlawful termination of Ms. Wilkins’ pregnancy. This is an addition to charges of attempted murder and use of a deadly weapon. In this case, the accused attacker is facing upwards of 100 years in prison if convicted of all the charges. There is no “gap” in Colorado law for punishing this horrific crime.

And from Karen Middleton at NARAL Pro Choice Colorado:

What happened to Michelle Wilkins was awful, and like all Coloradans our hearts go out to her and her family. We support pregnant women who are the victims of crime, and we support holding criminals accountable under our laws.

But SB 268 isn’t the answer. Under the guise of establishing fetal homicide, Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that will result in establishing fetal ‘personhood’ and outlaw access to safe and legal abortions in the state of Colorado.

SB 268 is a very dangerous proposal for Colorado women and their health. It undermines Colorado law, which is the gold standard for protecting pregnant women. Colorado’s law is carefully balanced, unlike other states where fetal homicide laws have been used to prosecute pregnant women and even put them in jail.

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Like us, you have probably heard about the horrifying attack suffered by Michelle Wilkins of Longmont. She was violently assaulted by another woman who attempted to steal her unborn child. The alleged perpetrator of this awful crime has been charged with multiple counts of felony criminal behavior, including attempted first degree murder and first degree unlawful termination of pregnancy. If convicted, the assailant will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Michelle Wilkins’ attack is a heartbreaking situation. We are deeply saddened for the loss she and her family have suffered. Rightfully the public outcry for justice is great. 

However, there are some who want to use this tragedy for political gain to attack access to safe abortion services in Colorado. Yesterday, anti-abortion extremists in the Colorado legislature introduced a bill, SB-268, “Offenses Against Unborn Children.” The legislation seeks to create new criminal charge of fetal homicide, which would result in a new definition of a “person” in Colorado law to include an “unborn child at every state of gestation from conception until childbirth.”.  In other words — creation of “personhood.” 

This bill goes against Colorado values. Colorado voters have wisely rejected “personhood” time and time again. They understand creating “personhood” in Colorado law is dangerous and could criminalize Colorado women and their doctors, who need access to safe abortion services. This past November   voters overwhelming rejected the personhood Amendment 67 on the ballot by 64%. Furthermore, SB-268 could put women who have suffered their own loss of a miscarriage or stillborn birth at risk of being prosecuted. SB-268 is a very dangerous proposal for Colorado women and their health.

With our serious and punitive laws in place, Colorado does not need “personhood,” as SB-268 seeks to create. Colorado’s legal system already has the tools to respond and punish criminals who attack pregnant women.  

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 14)

Forgot to do your taxes? You’ve got a good 36 hours left. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Obama Administration says it has a plan to fund construction of the troubled VA Hospital in Aurora. Congressman Mike Coffman, the Republican Chair of the Veterans Subcommittee on Oversight, continues to bluster without taking time to suggest an actual solution.

► The State House is finished debating several more attempts to overturn gun safety laws passed in 2013. There was much debate, talking, and blustering, but in the end, nothing changed…though divisions within the Republican Party are growing, as the Colorado Springs-Gazette editorial board writes:

Forget Michael Bloomberg, Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislative Democrats for now. The bigger threat to gun rights in Colorado is Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, headed by political operative Dudley Brown.

 

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