Colorado and Louisiana voters had the opportunity to weigh in on state ballot measures on Tuesday that could restrict abortion rights. While Colorado voters rejected their state’s proposed 22-week ban, Louisiana voters approved an amendment to their state’s constitution that limits the right to an abortion.
Colorado’s measure, Proposition 115, would have banned abortion in the state after 22 weeks’ gestation, with one exception: if “an abortion is immediately required to save the life of a pregnant woman.” The legislation would not have provided exceptions for rape, incest, or a fatal diagnosis in which the fetus cannot survive outside the womb. According to unofficial returns, voters rejected the ballot initiative as measures went down 59.1% to 40.9%. The Associated Press called the race on Tuesday night. Therefore, clinics in Colorado can continue providing abortions later in the pregnancy.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, abortions later in pregnancy are rare, as just 1.2 percent of abortions occur at or after 21 weeks. Dusti Gurule, executive director of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), stated, “[a]ny kind of bans or attacks or limits disproportionately impacts black and brown women and young people.”
Louisiana’s measure, Amendment 1, states that nothing in the state’s constitution protects the right to an abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The Associated Press called the ballot initiative as approved by 62.1 percent to 37.9 percent on Tuesday night.
The result is significant because Louisiana has a trigger law that would automatically ban all abortions if Roe v. Wade were overturned. If this law ever becomes effective, Amendment 1 will make it difficult to strike down restrictions on abortion under the state’s constitution. Louisiana Senator Katrina Jackson, who sponsored the measure, stated, “[w]e are protecting our state’s taxpayer dollars and reaffirming Louisiana’s pro-life stance.”