Contraception won't go to vote
Democratic leaders feared there wouldn't be enough resources to fight a possible ballot measure limiting abortion rights. They foresee other chances for the pill.
By Mark P. Couch, The Denver Post, May 4, 2006
Backers of emergency contraception have dropped an effort to put the issue on this fall's ballot after statehouse leaders pressured them not to do it.
Statehouse Democrats were worried that an emotional and costly campaign would divert resources from the effort to fight anti-abortion initiatives that could also be on the ballot.
"Given limited resources, it's more important to work to elect Bill Ritter as governor so that next year the Boyd bill becomes law," wrote Steve Welchert, a Denver-based political-campaign consultant and one of the sponsors of the initiative.
Welchert and the sponsors withdrew the initiative proposal Wednesday.
Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, who sponsored House Bill 1212, which would have given pharmacists the power to prescribe the "morning-after pill," said she was pleased with the decision.
"I'm glad they did it," Boyd said. "I didn't know where we would get the resources to fight for it. There will be anti-choice legislation on the ballot that we need to fight, and I do not know where the ground troops would come from."
Abortion-rights opponents are pursuing a ballot measure that would prohibit late-term abortions for fetuses that could survive outside the womb, even in cases in which the fetus would depend on life-support systems.
Gov. Bill Owens vetoed HB 1212 last month, saying that he worried that easy access to the morning-after pill could lead to teenagers relying on it as their primary form of birth control.
Emergency contraceptives are pills that prevent a woman from getting pregnant if they are taken within 72 hours of having sex. Typically, the pills are used when other forms of contraception fail and are prescribed by a woman's physician.
Welchert annoyed some lawmakers by filing the paperwork for an initiative about a week before Owens issued his veto message April 13.
On Wednesday, Welchert said emergency-contraception supporters will devote their resources to electing Ritter, a Democrat, as governor. Ritter supported HB 1212.
"While we still believe the people of Colorado would have overwhelmingly voted to override the governor's veto and vote 'yes' for emergency contraception, our focus will shift," Welchert wrote.
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