Bill to ban abortion in Colorado gets first hearing

Vote delayed until Tuesday

DENVER - Colorado lawmakers on Thursday started debating a proposal from a conservative Weld County representative that would make abortion a felony. 

Lawmakers heard testimony on the bill, but a vote on the proposal was delayed until Tuesday so every lawmaker in the committee can vote. Democrats who oppose the measure control the committee, and the bill is expected to fail.

Republican Steve Humphrey, who represents District 48, is listed as the sole sponsor of House Bill 13-1033. He said two weeks ago, however, that Republican Senator Scott Renfroe would soon be the senate sponsor for the bill.

"The bill prohibits abortion and makes any violation a class-3 felony," it says.

The bill proposes that doctors performing an abortion would be subject to criminal penalty, not the pregnant women. It also proposes that performing abortions be considered "unprofessional conduct for purposes of physician licensing."

"The heart of the bill is the conviction that from conception, when the very first cell formed, the earliest developmental stage, the embryo is a new human being," Humphrey said. "Taking that life is not justified."

The bill does exclude from criminal penalty any abortion performed to save the life of the mother or medical treatment that results in an accidental abortion. It also explicitly says sale or use of contraception would not be prohibited by the bill.

In a letter posted on Humphrey's campaign website, the self-proclaimed conservative promises to spread a conservative message across his district and bring the message to Denver. He wrote:

"This year, we have seen an UNPRECEDENTED level of radical liberalism/progressivism here in Colorado. [sic]"

Humphrey received 75 percent of the vote to beat Libertarian John Gibson in the November election.

Humphrey told 7NEWS that HB 13-1033 is his first bill and that it comes from both his personal beliefs and that of the people he represents.

Humphrey said he believed supporters of his bill would be in the minority in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, but said there is a benefit to discussing the issue.

"I think that there'll be a big turnout on both sides. It's obviously a very emotional issue and I appreciate that," he said. "I'm not trying to rub people's faces in the issue, I just think it is a very important issue and it needs to be addressed."