Two of the organizers of the “Due Too Late” campaign embraced each other and began to cry Wednesday afternoon after submitting 29 boxes of signatures from Colorado voters for a statewide ballot measure to ban late-term abortions.
Volunteers collected about 138,500 signatures, according to the group. To get the question on the November ballot, 124,632 of them must be valid. The campaign estimated that more than 11% of signers are Democrats and more than 26% unaffiliated, saying it was a grassroots effort that drew people of various political and religious affiliations.
The Secretary of State’s Office has 30 days to figure out how many of those signatures are valid, after which the campaign will have 15 days to get new signatures if needed.
“We are here just being the voice for those who don’t have a voice,” co-sponsor Giuliana Day said.
The signature deadline comes on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in June Medical Services v. Cusso, a case that abortion rights activists fear could overturn Roe v. Wade. Colorado doesn’t have any restrictions on abortions, so advocates aren’t worried about access in the state. But they worry about the effect it will have nationally, making it more difficult for people who can’t afford to travel to get abortions.
Day, however, called unrestricted access to abortions “too extreme” and group spokesperson Lauren Castillo said the attention nationally has created momentum to “protect life at all stages.”
Initiative 120 calls for banning abortions after 22 weeks in a woman’s pregnancy in Colorado. Medical providers who perform procedures after that time could face criminal penalties. The initiative makes an exception to save a woman’s life but not for cases of rape and incest. It has received support from various pro-life groups, including the Archdiocese of Denver, though some argue it doesn’t go far enough.
Organizers are confident they have enough signatures, but they have a plan for collecting more if needed in the 15-day cure period.
Abortion rights activists, however, cast doubt on that, noting that similar initiatives to place restriction on abortions in Colorado in previous years had validity rates between 70-80%, much lower than the percentage Due Too Late would need for its signatures collected so far to qualify the measure for the ballot.
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