NRL News

50 years ago today Colorado passed an historic abortion law which unleashed the abortion machinery

by | Apr 25, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

Richard Lamm

Richard Lamm

Pro-lifers know, of course, that there were many changes in abortion laws in the 1960s and 1970s prior to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which obliterated the abortion statutes of all 50 states, whether they were relatively protective or essentially abortion on demand.

But there is a reason pro-abortionists are making a big deal out of today’s 50th anniversary of the passage of what the Denver Post calls “the Trailblazing Colorado abortion law”: it was a genuine breakthrough for the abortion “reform” movement which quickly became the abolition of all abortion laws movement.

As Guttmacher explains (Guttmacher at one time was the research arm of Planned Parenthood)

In 1967, Colorado became the first state to reform its abortion law based on the ALI [American Law Institute] recommendation. The new Colorado statute permitted abortions if the pregnant woman’s life or physical or mental health were endangered, if the fetus would be born with a severe physical or mental defect, or if the pregnancy had resulted from rape or incest. Other states began to follow suit, and by 1972, 13 states had so-called ALI statutes. Meanwhile, four states repealed their antiabortion laws completely, substituting statutes permitting abortions that were judged to be necessary by a woman and her physician (see map). By 1973, when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe, abortion reform legislation had been introduced in all but five states. (The underlining is mine.)

 State Abortion Laws Before Roe Source: Guttmacher Institute

State Abortion Laws Before Roe — Source: Guttmacher Institute

Colorado’s passage not only broke the dam, unleashing a flood of abortion statutes, the manner in which the law was passed was a model for other activists. A freshman Democrat (Rep. Richard Lamm) introduced the bill, not necessarily expecting the proposal to go anywhere.

Lamm, now 81, told the Associated Press, “I was pushing on a half-open door. It gave way so much more easily than I ever dreamed it would.” Indeed with weeks, Republican Gov. John Love signed the bill into law.

In a story published today, the Associated Press wrote

Love, a Republican who died in 2002, said at the time that he struggled with what to do with the bill. He said he was conflicted over whether abortion would be used as an alternative to birth control.

What about Lamm? Lamm said he feared his career would be over, but instead he would go on to serve three terms as governor. He is probably better known for infamous remarks he made in 1984.

Here’s the lead to the Associated Press story that ran in the New York Times:

DENVER, March 28— Elderly people who are terminally ill have a ”duty to die and get out of the way” instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means, Gov. Richard D. Lamm of Colorado said Tuesday.

People who die without having life artificially extended are similar to ”leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up,” the Governor told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

”You’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way,” said the 48-year-old Governor. ”Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.”

The Seamless Garment of Death, as woven by Richard Lamm.

Categories: Legislation