A Colorado Senate committee has passed a bill that would ban nearly all abortions beyond the 19th week of pregnancy.
The only instance in which an abortion would be allowed past the 19th week would be if two doctors certified in writing that the fetus was not viable. The bill allows no exceptions on behalf of the woman's health.
Doctors who are found to have performed abortions in violation of the law could face mandatory 30-day jail sentences, as well as charges for murder, manslaughter, or wrongful death if an autopsy revealed that the fetus was viable.
Abortion rights advocates criticize the bill for its lack of regard for the health of pregnant women and charge that the bill's estimate of when a fetus is viable is inaccurate. Dr. Daniel Hall testified to the Senate committee that doctors are better able to judge the viability of a fetus at twenty-five to twenty-six weeks.
The bill now goes before Colorado's full Senate and then the House. The bill is not expected to make it to the Governor's desk.
Media Resources: Kaiser Family Foundation - February 11, 1999