Colorado ballot initiative seeks right to taxpayer-funded abortions

Anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court a year after the court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling in 2022. File photo by Annabelle Gordon/UPI | License Photo

May 18 (UPI) — A ballot initiative seeking to make abortion a right and requiring taxpayer funding through state and local health insurance plans qualifies for inclusion on Colorado’s Nov. 5 ballot.

Organizers of Initiative 89 obtained and submitted more than enough valid signatures to include the proposed change to the Colorado Constitution on the general election ballot, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced Friday.

Organizers submitted 159,930 valid signatures to place the measure on the ballot, which requires 55% of affirming votes to become law.

Colorado requires 125,000 registered Colorado voters, including at least 2% in each of the state’s 35 Senate districts, to sign a petition to place an initiative on a general election ballot.

Initiative 89 would change the Colorado Constitution to recognize the right to abortion, prohibit the state or local units from interfering with that right and require abortion coverage through health insurance plans for employees of state and local units of government and those who are enrolled in state and local unit insurance programs.

The Colorado Constitution bans state funding of abortions and has for the past 40 years.

Other than the ban on state funding for abortions and requiring parents be notified at least 48 hours before a minor undergoes an abortion procedure, Colorado doesn’t interfere with a woman’s ability to get an abortion.

Voters in 1984 approved a ballot initiative that prohibits state funding of abortions through Medicaid or including abortion coverage in health insurance plans for state workers.

Colorado joins Maryland, Florida, South Dakota and New York in including abortion measures on the November state ballots.

Organizers in six other states are trying to get abortion proposals on respective state ballots.

The ballot initiatives come two years after the Supreme Court ruled the federal government has no right to regulate abortion and remanded the matter to individual states in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling in 2022.

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