February 12, 2007

Proposed Near-Ban On Abortions Symbolic, Killed 4-3

State Sen. Scott Renfroe's hyperbole aside, the bill had no chance of clearing the Democratically controlled Colorado legislature. This sort of symbolic legislation is intended to boost the political record of the bill's sponsor and provide campaign fodder in the next election.

Sen. Renfroe won't win over any converts with heavy-handed rhetoric like this:
Calling it "the civil rights issue of our generation", freshman Sen. Scott Renfroe on Monday asked state lawmakers to outlaw nearly all abortions in Colorado.

"Today's aborted baby is the black slave of our history. When will we stop turning our heads and hiding behind the word choice?" Renfroe said at the beginning of the proposal's first hearing at the state Capitol.

Opponents and supporters were out in force, but were being given only an hour each to speak about the proposal (Senate Bill 143).

The Greeley Republican had pledged to support an abortion ban during the campaign and said he had modeled the proposal after one passed in South Dakota last year. Voters later rejected it.

Renfroe's bill bans abortions except those to save the life of a mother. It also redefines when pregnancy begins. Current law says that it begins when a fertilized egg is implanted in a woman's uterus but Renfroe's bill states that it begins at fertilization.
Over-the-top language like this only fuels the fire of opponents and scares off potential allies. Employing bumper-sticker slogans to support a bill decreases the impact of the overall argument in any legislation. Both sides will be caught up in the words equating abortion to slavery--as opponents attack Renfroe and the GOP/conservatives in general of anything from racism to patriarchy (and on and on . . .) and proponents spend unnecessary energy and time on defending the political talk surrounding the bill and not the legislation's intent.

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