Abortion

With Anti-Personhood Measure, Democrats Prove They Can Pass Pointless Abortion Bills, Too

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Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia

For years, Republican state legislators have been proposing and pushing pointless abortion measures. I say "pointless" because the bulk of these are rooted not in medical or legal necessity but in some combination of desires to prevent women from getting abortions, to incite culture-war ire, and to force challenges in court.

But why should GOP lawmakers get to have all the fun here? In Colorado, congressional Democrats have introduced a feel-good, do-nothing abortion measure of their own. 

The measure, Senate Bill 175, sounds lovely on the surface. Deemed the "Reproductive Health Freedom Act," it aims to promote "freedom from government interference in an individual's reproductive health decisions." To this aim, no state or locality in Colorado shall pass a policy that "denies or interferes" with such decisions. Additionally, all reproductive health policies must be rooted in "current evidence-based scientific data and medical consensus." 

Though the bill doesn't explicitly say so, it's at least partly a reaction to abortion measures that have passed in other states recently (kinda like the legislative equivalent of a subtweet). In Texas, for instance, women seeking abortions may be required to listen to a fetal heartbeat first, just for funsies. And 12 states require women to view an ultrasound image before the procedure. 

As you might imagine, I'm no fan of these laws, which add burdensome, costly, and medically unnecessary steps to abortion procedures in the name of attempted emotional manipulation. But no one is requiring these steps in Colorado, and no one is suggesting requring them. This is a bill intended to ban the possibility of future bills.

That's a futile endeavor, of course: Were SB 175 to go into law, a future anti-abortion majority in the Colorado legislature could simply repeal it and proceed to pass all the personhood measures it liked. "It's one of the worst bills that I've seen in terms of public policy," Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) told 9 News Colorado. "When the legislature puts something in statute, it's supposed to mean something."

"It doesn't create a crime and it doesn't cost money. What's the point of making this into law?" asked 7NEWS Reporter Marshall Zelinger, displaying a depressing but sadly accurate view of contemporary lawmaking.

Of course, state legislatures are frequently home to symbolic lawmaking. Politicians love to delcare the things they support in ways that can be easily referenced next campaign season. While a waste of time, these things are essentially harmless. But since I frequently complain when Republicans engage in this kind of abortion grandstanding, I figured highlighting this instance of Democrats engaging in similar silliness was only fair.