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Debating Abortion at the State Capitol, on the Hill, and with Focus on the Family

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A group of Republican state representatives wants to add a new crime to Colorado’s legal statutes: the “unlawful termination of a pregnancy.” The Huffington Post notes that while abortion rights would remain intact, anyone who kills an unborn child could face a variety of criminal penalties, depending on the degree of the offense, according to the bill.

As the legislation unfolds, with some Democratic support, Focus on the Family, a group staunchly opposed to abortion, is seeking to work with abortion-rights advocates in the hopes of decreasing the number of abortions, writes the Denver Post. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, a group that supports a woman’s right to choose, is willing to talk with Focus about the “root causes of unintended pregnancies,” says spokeswoman Monica McCafferty, adding that abortion must remain legal. “We certainly never want to see the day when women can’t make this personal, private decision for themselves,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Diana DeGette told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that Republicans have made anti-abortion efforts a top priority since taking control of the U.S. House earlier this year (via the Colorado Independent). As one example, the Denver Democrat, who leads the Pro-Choice Caucus, points to the proposed Protect Life Act, which would strengthen medical conscience clauses that allow doctors who oppose abortions to refuse service, even in emergencies. “I believe in a conscience clause,” DeGette explains. “I believe that’s important. But under current law, if a woman comes in and she’s gonna die if she doesn’t get the medical service, then they have to provide that medical service. This new legislation would eliminate that law,” she adds, claiming that in such cases the life of the mother would not be valued.

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