Columnists, Constitutional Law, Jon Caldara, Politics, Uncategorized

Caldara: SCOTUS abortion case changes nothing in Colorado

I really hate to opine on anything touching the abortion issue because, no matter what I say, folks of all political stripes get triggered and nasty. Rarely does anyone want to challenge their own hard-core, intractable positions.

So, it is with great reluctance I weigh in on the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Mississippi’s limit on abortions.

The court might empower states to limit access to abortion to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Or it could reverse Roe v. Wade altogether.

Here’s my simple message: If either of those things happen, nothing changes in Colorado.

If you are rabidly pro-choice and the Supreme Court does reverse Roe v Wade, don’t freak out. It changes nothing here. Likewise, if you are religiously pro-life and they reverse Roe, don’t pop champagne bottles. Nothing changes here.

In 1967, a Republican governor signed a bill by a young Democrat, Dick Lamm, after it passed through a Republican-controlled House and Senate, which in essence decriminalized abortion, making Colorado the first state to do so.

Colorado remains one of only seven states with no restriction on abortion, all the way up to the point of birth. And that’s not sizably changing anytime soon.

The “personhood” amendment, which would have defined life from the moment of conception, was aborted by voters, 73% to 27%.

Recently, a much more modest late-term abortion ban, after 22 weeks, also was dispatched by nearly 60% of voters.

And no abortion limits are going to pass our progressive legislature or governor.

It’s not in the political cards for abortion restrictions to pass in the foreseeable future.

So, when it comes to abortion in Colorado, PLEASE, everybody just calm the hell down.

If you want to end abortion here, you’ll need to do it on the demand side, persuading women to go full term, since forcing them won’t be a legal option for a long time.

You can be strongly pro-life or pro-abortion and still recognize that Roe v. Wade is faulty. There is nothing in the Constitution that speaks to that issue, plainly leaving it to the states to decide.

As was done in decisions like Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1973 Supreme Court made a political ruling. They invented a “right to privacy” argument that’s not in the Constitution, and fit abortion into a made-up trimester system to declare viability outside the womb.

As technology changes in viability outside the womb, it’s time to look at this decision honestly, and only from a constitutional point of view.

Like what happened here in 1967, when our elected officials in Colorado argued, debated, fought, and came to a processed decision through legislative deliberation, it will play out in the states where it belongs.

I think we all can agree that no reasonable person likes abortion. It is morally questionable and politically intractable.

If you believe that a fetus is a life, our Declaration states that government is created to protect that life. If you believe a fetus is not life, our Declaration declares the purpose of government is to protect your liberty over your own body. (Insert your own joke about vax mandators controlling your body.)

When Roe v. Wade is overturned, some socially conservative states will nearly eliminate abortion altogether.

But, I think it is a much more nuanced issue.

Sometimes not to abort is cruel, inhuman and torturous, such as when a woman finds out even late in her pregnancy that her fetus has a terminal diagnosis.

I believe to take away a parent’s right to lessen the suffering of both mother and child is wrong. And I have some personal experience.

My beautiful daughter, Parker, had a genetic mutation that caused a vicious and incurable cancer to take her life just days before her first birthday. Because of this mutation, she carried a death sentence that science couldn’t stop.

If we had known about this genetic mutation before she was born perhaps, just perhaps, we’d considered terminating her to save her the pain and suffering that was guaranteed.

If that would have been considered murder, I might well have freely chosen to spend eternity in hell rather than see my little girl suffer needlessly.

Abortion is more nuanced than bumper stickers would suggest.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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