EDITORIAL: Alabama abortion scam signals Colorado must act to preserve women’s reproductive rights

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State lawmakers in Alabama set off alarms across the nation this week with a stunning anti-abortion bill. The stunt makes it clear that women’s right to shun government control of their bodies is seriously at risk.

Alabama lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday that virtually bans all abortions in that state, purposely hoping to force a clearly untenable law in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of a victory there.

Alabama anti-abortion law proponents have repeatedly said they see an opportunity to reverse the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which ensures women that abortion in a matter of personal and medical privacy, beyond the reach of often nefarious and disingenuous lawmakers.

During and after the sinister Alabama state Senate vote Tuesday, lawmakers venerated the “sanctity” of all human life. As do many abortion opponents, they left out the fact that lives sentenced to death in that state’s criminal justice system, sometimes mistakenly, aren’t included in their definition of “sanctity” or “all human life.”

It’s a common problem among states that promote capital punishment and oppose abortion rights, including Colorado.

The Alabama stunt comes on the heals of another extreme anti-abortion law, this one in Georgia, which erroneously tries to legally define personhood as something that begins with an embryonic circulatory development. That’s what anti-abortion proponents mistakenly call a heartbeat. It’s not. It’s fraudulent science.

Human embryos do not have hearts at six weeks. Humans do not grow to fetal status until nine weeks after fertilization. 

The new Georgia law prohibits abortions in that state after this so-called heart-beat test is passed, essentially outlawing abortions in that state, too. Many women may not even be aware they are pregnant at the common six-week mark when that embryonic circulatory mark might be detected, and probably couldn’t.

These decisions and others similar to them brought by state legislators make it undeniable that American women’s right to privacy is seriously at risk.

Despite clear and persistent warnings from women’s rights advocates and medical providers, Colorado and other state’s have elected members of the U.S. Senate who either deliberately or surreptitiously sanction Supreme Court justices with anti-abortion bents or missions.

Our own example is Sen. Cory Gardner, who dishonestly tried to assure Colorado voters in 2014 that, if elected, he would not permit erosion of women’s reproductive rights. Like others, Gardner tossed out the Roe v. Wade as “settled law” smokescreen. In reality, he has since voted to approve the nominations of justices who were chosen by President Donald Trump in part because of their likelihood to reverse or debilitate Roe v. Wade.

A 2016 Supreme Court decision striking down clear attempts to deviously try to make abortions in Texas illegal by regulating abortion clinics out of existence passed only a 5-3 vote. Justice Anthony Kennedy pushed the decision into a favorable one for abortion-rights proponents.

He’s gone. In his place are two conservative justices whom proponents tout as being friends to anti-abortion causes.

Colorado and the nation was warned this could happen. The next few years could see women’s rights and sound, science-based law eroded in ways only seen in backward places like North Korea, Islamic strongholds and third-world autocracies.

Medical and reproductive rights have taken a back-burner to other issues during congressional and state elections.  That can no longer be the case.

Each year, Colorado’s historic abortion rights come under fire from lawmakers similar to those in Alabama, determined to use pseudo-science and fiction — while undermining religious freedom — to insert their beliefs into state government and every woman’s doctor’s office.

The Alabama scam, and those like it in Colorado, are anathema to modern human rights and democracy.

As the next election cycle heats up, it will be more critical than it has been since the 1970s to ensure candidates are honest and willing to make women’s right to self-governance a priority, and to vote to protect those rights.