The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by our guest columnists do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of this publication.
Anna Ramirez Crawford
Board President of Women’s Lobby of Colorado
In Colorado, we have seen many attempts to take away that access. There have been “fetal personhood” initiatives attempted three times on our state ballot. This policy would have made getting or providing abortion care a crime. Colorado voters strongly voted them down, because they know people need access to abortion care. They know when people do not have it, people die getting it illegally. The Women’s Lobby of Colorado, the organization of which I am the Board Chair, agrees. We believe every person has the fundamental right to choose when and how to start a family. From first-hand experience, I know how personal and powerful that decision can be — just last year, my husband and I had a child ourselves.
Another initiative, to ban abortion later in pregnancy, is the latest proposal by those who want to ban abortion. Signatures are being gathered now. Those behind the proposal are using the stigma that surrounds abortion care, but they are not using the facts about abortion later in pregnancy. Less than 1.5% of abortion care is provided after 21 weeks and less than 1% after 24 weeks. When a person or family has a pregnancy for that long, it is almost always because they have chosen to start a family. When a pregnancy has complications, families are put into the situation where they have to choose abortion. It can be because the pregnancy has resulted in a fetus who will not live, or if it continues, the pregnant person will die. As a recent mother who was fortunate to have a healthy pregnancy and child, I know that if this had happened to me, it would have been horrible to deal with laws that would have blocked saving my life. That is not stress a family should face at such a difficult and tragic time.
We cannot let this narrative of stigma and shame around abortion care hurt Colorado families. Coloradans have said this time and time again at the ballot box. We need to offer support to communities, including comprehensive sexual education, more access to birth control, and more resources for low income women — this support allows families to choose early in a pregnancy if they are ready for family, and will often reduce abortion rates. Those are policies that help families and provide opportunity to more Coloradans.