April 26, 2007

Colorado's Liberal Abortion Laws

Colorado's record on abortion is long and storied (and an indicator of just how purple the state has been--or at the very least, with libertarian leanings):
Mary Rita Urbish remembers perfectly the moment 40 years ago when Colorado became ground zero in the battle over abortion.

It was April 25, 1967 - the day a proposal by a legislator named Lamm was signed into law by a governor named Love, making the state the first in the nation to liberalize its abortion law. In that moment, as supporters cheered the potential end of illegal abortions, a social movement was born.

"I was so angry," said Urbish, one of the founders of Colorado Right to Life. "It's like a continuous loop in my mind that just runs and runs and runs and runs. It makes me mad to think about it, even now, 40 years later."

Future Gov. Richard Lamm was a freshman state legislator when he introduced the bill to overhaul Colorado's century-old abortion law. His proposal, based on the recommendations of the American Law Institute, allowed a three-doctor panel to approve abortions in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal defects, to save a woman's life or if the pregnancy threatened her physical or mental health.
. . .
"Prior to that bill, it was just totally illegal, and all the abortions were in back rooms," said John Bermingham, a Denver Republican who was the bill's chief Senate sponsor. "(The bill) just seemed like the right thing to do. Back-room abortions were disgraceful."
Until Roe v. Wade asserted judicial supremacy on the issue of abortion, states including Colorado recognized that legislation offered the most appropriate road to resolving differences over such a divisive issue.

The anniversary, of course, is nothing to celebrate, even if you support choice.

Labels: , , ,