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Under the Colorado government heretofore, the constitutional rights of unborn persons in Colorado have not been upheld.  

 

Colorado State Constitution: Article II, Section 3: Inalienable Rights

 

All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

 

Colorado State Constitution: Article II, Section 6: Equality of Justice

 

Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, property or character; and right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay.

 

Colorado State Constitution: Article II, Section 25: Due Process of Law

 

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.

 

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According to the definition for “person” found in Part 1, homicide specifically does not refer to unborn children in Colorado at this time.  Therefore they are not protected under criminal law in Colorado.  This could potentially be changed with a redefinition of the word “person”.  

 

Colorado Revised Statutes: Title 18, Article 3, Part 1: Homicide and Related Offenses

18-3-101. Definitions

As used in this part 1, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Homicide” means the killing of a person by another.
(2) “Person”, when referring to the victim of a homicide, means a human being who had been born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act.

 

18-3-102. Murder in the first degree
(1) A person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if:
(a) After deliberation and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, he causes the death of that person or of another person; or
(f) The person knowingly causes the death of a child who has not yet attained twelve years of age and the person committing the offense is one in a position of trust with respect to the victim.

(4) The statutory privilege between patient and physician and between husband and wife shall not be available for excluding or refusing testimony in any prosecution for the crime of murder in the first degree as described in paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of this section.

 

18-3-104. Manslaughter
(1) A person commits the crime of manslaughter if:
(a) Such person recklessly causes the death of another person; or

18-3-106. Vehicular homicide
(1) (a) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and such conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide.
(b) (I) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, and such conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another, such person commits vehicular homicide. This is a strict liability crime.

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There is a law known as the Wrongful Death Act that guarantees the right of heirs or close family to receive damages for deaths resulting from negligence:

 

Colorado Revised Statutes: Title 13, Article 21, Part 2: Damages for Death by Negligence

13-21-201. Damages for death
(1) When any person dies from any injury resulting from or occasioned by the negligence, unskillfulness, or criminal intent of any officer, agent, servant, or employee while running, conducting, or managing any locomotive, car, or train of cars, or of any driver of any coach or other conveyance operated for the purpose of carrying either freight or passengers for hire while in charge of the same as a driver, and when any passenger dies from an injury resulting from or occasioned by any defect or insufficiency in any railroad or any part thereof, or in any locomotive or car, or other conveyance operated for the purpose of carrying either freight or passengers for hire, the corporation or individuals in whose employ any such officer, agent, servant, employee, master, pilot, engineer, or driver is at the time such injury is committed, or who owns any such railroad, locomotive, car, or other conveyance operated for the purpose of carrying either freight or passengers for hire at the time any such injury is received, and resulting from or occasioned by the defect or insufficiency above described shall forfeit and pay for every person and passenger so injured the sum of not exceeding ten thousand dollars and not less than three thousand dollars, which may be sued for and recovered:
(c) (I) If the deceased is an unmarried minor without descendants or an unmarried adult without descendants and without a designated beneficiary pursuant to article 22 of title 15, C.R.S., by the father or mother who may join in the suit. Except as provided in subparagraphs (II) and (III) of this paragraph (c), the father and mother shall have an equal interest in the judgment, or if either of them is dead, then the surviving parent shall have an exclusive interest in the judgment.

 

13-21-202. Action notwithstanding death
When the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, and the act, neglect, or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then, and in every such case, the person who or the corporation which would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable in an action for damages notwithstanding the death of the party injured.

 

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Currently there is a proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution, that if the petition process is successful, would be on the Colorado ballot in 2014.  It is meant to apply the protections and justice for “persons” in the Colorado Criminal Code (all of Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes) and in the “Wrongful Death Act” which is C.R.S. Title 13, Article 21, Part 2.  The wording of the amendment, known as the Brady Amendment, is: 

In the interest of the protection of pregnant mothers and their unborn children from criminal offenses and negligent and wrongful acts, the words “person” and “child” in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act must include unborn human beings.

 

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Until 2013, there were statutes on the Colorado books restricting abortion (though some have been ruled unconstitutional), many of which have been repealed by a bill signed into law on June 5 this year.  This law is very similar to the stated intentions of the Brady Amendment in giving rights of damages to families of unborn children killed through negligence.  In other respects its intentions are directly opposed to the equal justice goals of the personhood-like Brady Amendment.  July 1, 2013, the law so far denoted by “H.B. 13-1154” took effect.  It is summarized on the official state web page

 

H.B. 13-1154 Crimes against pregnant women – unlawful termination of a pregnancy – repeal criminal abortion statutes – appropriations. 

The act creates a new article for offenses against pregnant women. The new offenses are unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the first degree, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the second degree, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the third degree, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the fourth degree, vehicular unlawful termination of a pregnancy, aggravated vehicular unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and careless driving resulting in unlawful termination of a pregnancy. The act excludes from prosecution medical care for which the mother provided consent. The act does not confer the status of “person” upon a human embryo, fetus, or unborn child at any stage of development prior to live birth. The act repeals the criminal abortion statutes. The act makes the required 5-year statutory appropriation as required by section 2-2-703, Colorado Revised Statutes. 

 

APPROVED by Governor June 5, 2013 EFFECTIVE July 1, 2013

 

To read the full text of this new law, you can go to the Colorado legislature’s website

 

Particularly relevant to abortion are these parts: 

HB13-1154 Section 1:

(i) Additionally, nothing in this act shall be construed to permit the imposition of criminal penalties against a woman for actions she takes that result in the termination of her pregnancy; and

(j) Finally, nothing in this act shall be construed to permit the imposition of criminal penalties against a health care provider engaged in providing health care services to a patient.

 

C.R.S. 18-3.5-101: Definitions

(5) “PREGNANCY”, FOR PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE ONLY AND NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER DEFINITION OR USE TO THE CONTRARY, MEANS THE PRESENCE OF AN IMPLANTED HUMAN EMBRYO OR FETUS WITHIN THE UTERUS OF A WOMAN.

 

(7) “UNLAWFUL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY” MEANS THE TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY BY ANY MEANS OTHER THAN BIRTH OR A MEDICAL PROCEDURE, INSTRUMENT, AGENT, OR DRUG, FOR WHICH THE CONSENT OF THE PREGNANT WOMAN, OR A PERSON AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO ACT ON HER BEHALF, HAS BEEN OBTAINED, OR FOR WHICH THE PREGNANT WOMAN’S CONSENT IS IMPLIED BY LAW.

 

18-3.5-102. Exclusions

(1) NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL PERMIT THE PROSECUTION OF A PERSON FOR ANY ACT OF PROVIDING MEDICAL, OSTEOPATHIC, SURGICAL, MENTAL HEALTH, DENTAL, NURSING, OPTOMETRIC, HEALING, WELLNESS, OR PHARMACEUTICAL CARE; FURNISHING INPATIENT OR OUTPATIENT HOSPITAL OR CLINIC SERVICES; FURNISHING TELEMEDICINE SERVICES; OR FURNISHING ANY SERVICE RELATED TO ASSISTED REPRODUCTION OR GENETIC TESTING. 

(2) NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL PERMIT THE PROSECUTION OF A WOMAN FOR ANY ACT OR ANY FAILURE TO ACT WITH REGARD TO HER OWN PREGNANCY.

 

18-3.5-111. Construction

NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO CONFER THE STATUS OF “PERSON” UPON A HUMAN EMBRYO, FETUS, OR UNBORN CHILD AT ANY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT PRIOR TO LIVE BIRTH.

 

HB13-1154 SECTION 3: In Colorado Revised Statutes, repeal part 1 of article 6 of title 18, 12-32-107 (3) (m), 12-36-117 (1) (b), 25-1-1202 (1) (ee), and 30-10-606 (1) (d).

[See the abortion-relevant parts of these laws and links to them in the next section of this post.] 

 

13-22-105. Minors – birth control services rendered by physicians

Except as otherwise provided in part 1 of article 6 of title 18, C.R.S., Birth control procedures, supplies, and information may be furnished by physicians licensed under article 36 of title 12, C.R.S., to any minor who is pregnant, or a parent, or married, or who has the consent of his parent or legal guardian, or who has been referred for such services by another physician, a clergyman, a family planning clinic, a school or institution of higher education, or any agency or instrumentality of this state or any subdivision thereof, or who requests and is in need of birth control procedures, supplies, or information.

 

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The laws repealed in the preceding 2013 law include: 

Colorado Revised Statutes: 

18-6-101. Definitions
18-6-102. Criminal abortion
(1) Any person who intentionally ends or causes to be ended the pregnancy of a woman by any means other than justified medical termination or birth commits criminal abortion.

18-6-103. Pretended criminal abortion
18-6-104. Failure to comply
18-6-105. Distributing abortifacients

12-32-107. Issuance, revocation, or suspension of license – probation – immunity in professional review

(3) “Unprofessional conduct” as used in this article means:

(m) Procuring, or aiding or abetting in procuring, criminal abortion;

12-36-117. Unprofessional conduct

(1) “Unprofessional conduct” as used in this article means:

(b) Procuring, or aiding or abetting in procuring, criminal abortion;

 

25-1-1202. Index of statutory sections regarding medical record confidentiality and health information
(1) Statutory provisions concerning policies, procedures, and references to the release, sharing, and use of medical records and health information include the following:

(ee) Sections 18-6-101 to 18-6-104 C.R.S., concerning a justified medical termination of pregnancy;

 

30-10-606. Coroner – inquiry – grounds – postmortem – jury – certificate of death

(1) The coroner shall immediately notify the district attorney, proceed to view the body, and make all proper inquiry respecting the cause and manner of death of any person in his jurisdiction who has died under any of the following circumstances:

(d) From criminal abortion, including any situation where such abortion may have been self-induced;

 

All of those laws were repealed by the 2013 Colorado legislature.  

 

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In 2003 a similar law was passed, focusing on “unlawful termination of a pregnancy.”  It was known as an “unborn victims of violence act“, and it actually strengthened the legality of abortion in the state, by including professional medical and surgical abortions in the specification of which terminations of pregnancy are legal:

Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 18, Article 3.5: Unlawful Termination of Pregnancy

18-3.5-101. Unlawful termination of pregnancy

(1) A person commits the offense of unlawful termination of a pregnancy if, with intent to terminate unlawfully the pregnancy of another person, the person unlawfully terminates the other person’s pregnancy.

18-3.5-102. Exclusions
Nothing in this article shall permit the prosecution of a person for providing medical treatment, including but not limited to an abortion, in utero treatment, or treatment resulting in live birth, to a pregnant woman for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which consent is implied by law.

 
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Other parts of the Colorado Revised Statutes that apply to abortion include: 
Colorado Revised Statutes: Title 12, Article 37.5: Colorado Parental Notification Act
(1) The people of the state of Colorado, pursuant to the powers reserved to them in Article V of the Constitution of the state of Colorado, declare that family life and the preservation of the traditional family unit are of vital importance to the continuation of an orderly society; that the rights of parents to rear and nurture their children during their formative years and to be involved in all decisions of importance affecting such minor children should be protected and encouraged, especially as such parental involvement relates to the pregnancy of an unemancipated minor, recognizing that the decision by any such minor to submit to an abortion may have adverse long-term consequences for her.
(2) The people of the state of Colorado, being mindful of the limitations imposed upon them at the present time by the federal judiciary in the preservation of the parent-child relationship, hereby enact into law the following provisions.

12-37.5-103. Definitions
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Minor” means a person under eighteen years of age.
(2) “Parent” means the natural or adoptive mother and father of the minor who is pregnant, if they are both living; one parent of the minor if only one is living, or if the other parent cannot be served with notice, as hereinafter provided; or the court-appointed guardian of such minor if she has one or any foster parent to whom the care and custody of such minor shall have been assigned by any agency of the state or county making such placement.
(3) “Abortion” for purposes of this article means the use of any means to terminate the pregnancy of a minor with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the minor’s unborn offspring.
(5) “Medical emergency” means a condition that, on the basis of the physician’s good-faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant minor as to necessitate a medical procedure necessary to prevent the pregnant minor’s death or for which a delay will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.

12-37.5-104. Notification concerning abortion
(1) No abortion shall be performed upon an unemancipated minor until at least 48 hours after written notice of the pending abortion has been delivered in the following manner:
(a) The notice shall be addressed to the parent at the dwelling house or usual place of abode of the parent. Such notice shall be delivered to the parent by:
(I) The attending physician or member of the physician’s immediate staff who is over the age of eighteen; or
(II) The sheriff of the county where the service of notice is made, or by his deputy; or
(III) Any other person over the age of eighteen years who is not related to the minor; or
(IV) A clergy member who is over the age of eighteen.

 

12-37.5-105. No notice required – when

12-37.5-106. Penalties – damages – defenses

12-37.5-107. Judicial bypass

12-37.5-108. Limitations
(1) This article shall in no way be construed so as to:
(a) Require any minor to submit to an abortion; or
(b) Prevent any minor from withdrawing her consent previously given to have an abortion; or
(c) Permit anything less than fully informed consent before submitting to an abortion.
(2) This article shall in no way be construed as either ratifying, granting or otherwise establishing an abortion right for minors independently of any other regulation, statute or court decision which may now or hereafter limit or abridge access to abortion by minors.

 

25-3-110. Emergency contraception – definitions

 

25-6-101. Legislative declaration
(1) Continuing population growth either causes or aggravates many social, economic, and environmental problems, both in this state and in the nation.

25-6-102. Policy, authority, and prohibitions against restrictions
(1) All medically acceptable contraceptive procedures, supplies, and information shall be readily and practicably available to each person desirous of the same regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, disability, age, income, number of children, marital status, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, or motive.
(10) To the extent family planning funds are available, each agency and institution of this state and each of its political subdivisions shall provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, and information, including permanent sterilization procedures, to indigent persons free of charge and to other persons at cost.

 

25-6-201. This part 2 to be liberally construed
This part 2 shall be liberally construed to protect the rights of all individuals to pursue their religious beliefs, to follow the dictates of their own consciences, to prevent the imposition upon any individual of practices offensive to the individual’s moral standards, to respect the right of every individual to self-determination in the procreation of children, and to insure a complete freedom of choice in pursuance of constitutional rights.

25-6-202. Services to be offered by the county
The governing body of each county and each city and county or any county or district public health agency thereof or any welfare department thereof may provide and pay for, and each county and each city and county or any public health agency or county or district public health agency thereof or any welfare department thereof may offer, family planning and birth control services to every parent who is a public assistance recipient and to any other parent or married person who might have interest in, and benefit from, such services; except that no county or city and county or public health agency thereof is required by this section to seek out such persons.

 

25-6-203. Extent of services

25-6-205. Services may be refused
The refusal of any person to accept family planning and birth control services shall in no way affect the right of such person to receive public assistance or to avail himself of any other public benefit, and every person to whom such services are offered shall be so advised initially both orally and in writing. County and city and county employees engaged in the administration of this part 2 shall recognize that the right to make decisions concerning family planning and birth control is a fundamental personal right of the individual, and nothing in this part 2 shall in any way abridge such individual right, nor shall any individual be required to state his reason for refusing the offer of family planning and birth control services.

25-6-207. County employee exemption

To God be all glory, 

Lisa of Longbourn

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