Number of abortions in US falls to lowest level since 1973

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2019, file photo, anti-abortion activists protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, during the March for Life in Washington. The number and rate of abortions across the United States have plunged to their lowest levels since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973, according to new figures released Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Supporters of a Colorado ban on late pregnancy abortions can begin circulating petitions to place the measure on next year’s ballot, Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office has ruled.

Griswold’s office approved the petition format Thursday, so signature gathering can begin.

Backers of Initiative 120 have until March 4 to gather 124,632 valid voter signatures to put the measure on the November 2020 ballot.

The initiative, submitted by Erin Behrens and Giuliana Day, would make it unlawful to perform abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy unless the woman’s life is in danger.

Colorado is one of seven states that doesn’t impose time limits on when women can get abortions, The Associated Press reports.

A person performing a late-term abortion would be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor under the measure and would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 but not jail time.

The providers also would be guilty of “unprofessional conduct” and could see their medical licenses suspended for at least three years.

The initiative would not impose a penalty on the woman receiving the abortion.

Backers had talked earlier about an initiative to make performing late-term abortions a felony but later switched to a misdemeanor penalty.

“Colorado voters have repeatedly defeated efforts to ban abortion and restrict our constitutional rights,” said Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, “and we are confident they will do so again.

“Coloradans strongly believe that decisions on abortion belong between the patient and their doctor, not with politicians.”

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