Members of the Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Fort Collins guilds of the CMA have joined forces to ensure that Proposition 115, which would outlaw abortion after 22 weeks of gestation, passes in the November election when it is presented to the people of Colorado for a vote. Currently, abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy in Colorado.

Members of the Denver Guild spearheaded a bill to ban late-term abortion and worked to pass an infant born alive bill in the Colorado legislature, testifying in committee last year. Ultimately both bills failed in committee, which helped fuel the ballot initiative.

These Denver Guild members along with members from the Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Fort Collins guilds serve on the Medical Advisory Team for the Coalition for Women and Children, which sponsored the Proposition. Heading that team is Denver Guild member Dr. Tom Perille, who believes that Prop 115 will create an opportunity to change the hearts and minds of many “pro-choice” Coloradans.

“I think this will create a dialogue among Coloradans that is often suppressed and ignored,” he said. “When Coloradans think critically about late abortion, they will be forced to acknowledge the brazen cruelty and inhumanity of the procedure.”

To that end, Dr. Perille authored a white paper explaining why Coloradans should support Prop 115 and coauthored a letter of endorsement signed by more than 140 health care professionals and life scientists from varying backgrounds and political affiliations.

As Dr. Perille notes, “most Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, feel that abortion should be illegal late in pregnancy.”

He referenced a 2018 Gallup poll that found only 18% of Democrats, 13% of Independents, and 6% of Republicans believe that third trimester abortions should be legal. He also noted the 2020 Marist Poll, which found that 70% of Americans felt that abortion should be restricted to the first three months of pregnancy or less. The Marist poll also revealed that 41% of self-identified “pro-choice” voters were more inclined to vote for a candidate who supported abortion restrictions.

Dr. Perille believes these numbers reflect the public’s widespread recognition that late-term abortion kills a human being no different than a newborn infant and that late-term abortion represents a substantial medical risk to the pregnant woman.

In fact, beginning at 19 weeks, an unborn child can undergo in utero surgery to correct an array of structural abnormalities. Specialties of fetal anesthesia and fetal surgery have developed to treat these young patients. Now things like spinal cord defects, heart valve abnormalities, diaphragmatic hernias, urinary obstruction, and tumors can all be treated by modern, minimally invasive and open fetal surgical techniques. Before these advancements, unborn children with these abnormalities were often aborted.

In addition, fetuses as young as 21 weeks have been born and survived with excellent developmental outcomes. By 22 weeks, 70% of premature born babies survive with supportive care at some medical centers. These advances in NICU science is part of the impetus to change the Colorado abortion law according to Dr. Perille.

Further, he notes in his paper that “late abortions are violent procedures that commonly involve the crushing and dismemberment of the human fetus” which is inhumane as “there is good evidence that a 22-week fetus can feel pain — including the excruciating pain of the abortion procedure. In fact, because the normal pathways that modulate pain develop later in pregnancy, a 22-week fetus likely feels pain more intensely than an infant or adult.”

He also points out that late-term abortion poses serious health risks including a significant increased risk of death from abortion-related causes, which is further exacerbated by the lack of regulatory oversight in Colorado abortion clinics.

A study looking at the risk factors of legal abortion in the U.S. found that “up to 87% of deaths in women who chose to terminate their pregnancies after 8 weeks of gestation may have been avoidable if these women had accessed abortion services before 8 weeks of gestation.” Dr. Perille and the other health professionals supporting Prop 115 understand from a medical perspective that in the uncommon situations in which the pregnancy itself places the mother’s health at risk at or after 22-weeks, delivery of the baby is safer and quicker than a multi-day abortion procedure.

He believes that banning late-term abortion is where all Coloradans can find common ground. He points to the fact that a diverse group of 153,204 Democrats, Independents, and Republicans signed their names to place the initiative on the ballot — despite a global pandemic — as proof.

“Self-identified ‘pro-choice’ voters signed the initiative because they recognize that late-term abortions are extreme,” he said. “We believe that if we get the facts out, we will prevail on November 3.”

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