Anti-abortion group tries again to get ban on Colorado ballot

By: - September 21, 2023 4:00 am

Abortion rights supporters march in Denver in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court opinion that indicated justices would overturn Roe v. Wade, May 7, 2022. (Kevin Mohatt for Colorado Newsline)

Two anti-abortion activists have submitted the first slate of abortion-ban initiatives to the Colorado Title Board since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that once guaranteed constitutional protection for abortions.

The four initiative filings, all titled “Protections for a Living Child,” would ban abortion in Colorado statute and would define a fertilized egg as an “alive” human being. The four filings differ slightly, but all contain an eight-point declaration that defines a human, says it is unethical to kill humans and asserts that “no human being is property of another human to dispose of at-will.”


Two versions of the initiative directly cite Colorado’s homicide statute and put abortion in that category. Two versions would permanently close facilities that provide abortions and would give local governments the authority to deny permits to facilities that could potentially provide abortions. Another version would give district attorneys and local law enforcement the power to enforce the abortion ban.

The women behind the initiative filings, Angela Eicher and Faye Barnhart, hope the Title Board will give a title to all four filings.

“And then we’ll talk through and pray about which one to put forward on the state ballot that would be most consistent with the value of life and protecting these children,” Barnhart said.

Barnhart leads an anti-abortion center in northeast Colorado and is part of the Colorado Life Initiative group.

The initiatives have an initial Title Board hearing on Oct. 4. If they are granted a ballot title, initiative supporters can format a petition and then begin collecting signatures to get it placed on the 2024 ballot. A petition must receive 5% of the total votes cast for all candidates for secretary of state at the previous general election, which currently comes out to be 124,238 signatures.

Eicher and Barnhart withdrew a similar initiative in August and submitted the four new filings this month.

Eicher was involved with a similar initiative effort last year, but it did not get a title.

“What makes this one different is that it would be the first life initiative on the Colorado ballot since the overturn of Roe. We’re in a different political climate than we were in the past,” Barnhart said.

The Supreme Courts overturned Roe in June last year. Since then more than a dozen states have enacted extreme abortion restrictions.

Colorado has some of the strongest abortion protections in place. It is legal at all stages of pregnancy. The Legislature enshrined into law the right to abortion in 2022 in anticipation of Roe being overturned, and it passed laws this year to further protect out-of-state abortion patients and their providers from prosecution.

In 2020, Colorado voters rejected a 22-week abortion ban. Voters have also rejected three separate attempts to define “person” and “child” in the Colorado criminal code as “unborn human being.”


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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado.