Abortion supporters worry that if voters back the initiative, they would unintentionally outlaw abortion in many instances because of a 1984 voter-approved state constitutional amendment that prohibits public funding of abortions in Colorado.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains expressed its opposition, just as NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado did in June.
“PPRM, perhaps more than most organizations, knows that the ballot process is a risky tactic for implementing sweeping policy change. Things can unintentionally go wrong. We believe this would be the case here, and that Amendment 69 would further stigmatize and fragment abortion care in our health care system,” said Vicki Cowart, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
“While we recognize there is a strong argument for increased access to health insurance for all, the unintended consequence of Amendment 69 is that under the structure of a totally state-funded health care system, the only way women could obtain an abortion is if they paid out of pocket.”
A fragmented base that usually leans left has made life difficult for proponents, who say they are carrying the torch for former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Sanders’ new group, Our Revolution, has pledged its support to ColoradoCare.
ProgressNow Colorado last month also surprisingly came out in opposition to the initiative, which resulted in dueling news conferences, as proponents wrangled with opponents in Denver, displaying infighting between Democrats.
ColoradoCare says its lawyers are confident that the ballot drive would not impact abortions in the state. The ColoradoCare board would have unlimited power to authorize payments for unspecified health care services, such as abortions.
“Nowhere does the amendment state that the board can provide payment for all health care services except elective abortions,” ColoradoCare lawyers opined in June.
The opinion goes on to state that if there is a conflict between two state laws, then the most recent law would take precedent, thereby authorizing abortion funding under Amendment 69 and effectively repealing the 1984 law.
But Planned Parenthood remains unconvinced. While the organization supports universal health care, it does not believe ColoradoCare offers the right solution.
“We have fought for, responded to, and continue to believe in the need for universal health care,” Cowart said. “However, we believe universal health care means access to ALL services Coloradans need, including safe and legal abortion.”