Extraordinary Measures: Voters Tackle Life on the Ballot
June 9, 2020
It took 14,000 extra signatures, 1,500 volunteers, and two deadlines, but Colorado pro-lifers can finally breathe a sigh of relief. After a roller-coaster few months, the state will finally put Initiative 120 on the ballot -- and voters, not the government or the courts, will be deciding the future of the unborn.
They survived the coronavirus lockdown and a deficit of signatures, but Due Date Too Late's Lauren Castillo never gave up. "This is an incredible victory," she said when the state's office finally certified the names. Finally, she celebrated, "Coloradoans will have the chance to vote to save lives from late-term abortion in November." And judging by the outpouring of support, which brought in 28,572 more signatures than the drive needed, the state's pro-lifers have a crack at doing exactly that. Now, after spending so much time to see the language on the ballot, Castillo and company can gear up for the next step in the campaign: persuading the public.
Judging by the poll numbers, that shouldn't be too difficult to do. Second- and third-trimester abortions are hugely unpopular in America, even among self-described "pro-choicers" -- which bodes well for this 22-week ban. When Gallup asked Americans last year, they were surprised to discover just how conservative the country's views are. Only 13 percent think the procedure should be legal in the third trimester, and not many more -- 28 percent -- agree on the second.
And Coloradoans aren't the only ones who have a chance to make policy. In Louisiana and (hopefully) Washington State, voters will be heading to the polls with the rare chance to have the final say on abortion. As Dr. Michael New has said before, these opportunities don't come along every day. "Since the Roe v. Wade decision, pro-life activists have made relatively little use of direct democracy. The costs of qualifying a proposal for the ballot and running an effective campaign has discouraged many state and local pro-life groups from using the initiative process." Fortunately, some people -- like Lauren Castillo -- refuse to be discouraged.
In Louisiana, pro-lifers also won't have to rely on the Supreme Court to make changes in their state's abortion law. While the country waits for a ruling on their new clinic requirements, voters will be the ultimate voice in whether an amendment is added to the state constitution that says, "To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion."
Over in Michigan, where pro-lifers are trying to outlaw the gruesome dismemberment abortion procedure this November, Planned Parenthood is going to the mat to strip the question off the ballot. Despite reaching the 373,000 signature threshold in December, liberal activists insist the names are fraudulent and the petition is "defective on its face." Planned Parenthood's Angela Vasquez-Giroux told the press, "We've said all along that we would challenge this initiative at every opportunity because we know how dangerous it is for politics to dictate medical care." But just because they oppose the effort doesn't mean it isn't valid. Hopefully, fairness wins out.
In the meantime, our congratulations to all of these pro-lifers for showing other states that it doesn't matter who's in power! The people will always have a say as long as dedicated pro-lifers give them one. Now, get out and vote! Meanwhile, if you're wondering where your state stands on late-term abortion, check out FRC's Pro-Life Map.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.