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House Republican leader signs on to proposed abortion ban

House Minority Leader Brian Delgrosso, R-Loveland.

House Minority Leader Brian Delgrosso, R-Loveland.

DENVER — For the second year in a row, state Rep. Steve Humphrey is sponsoring an all-out ban on abortion.

But, unlike a year ago, the highest-ranking Republican in the House has signed on as a one of 12 co-sponsors.

House Minority Leader Brian Delgrosso, R-Loveland, is a pizza franchisee considered to be one of the more moderate, business-focused members of the GOP caucus.

He’s a co-sponsor of House Bill 1133, introduced Thursday morning and certain to be swiftly killed by Democrats and, more importantly, long remembered.

In an election year, it’s guaranteed that Democrats will repeatedly reference the measure in attempting to portray Republican lawmakers as extreme, focused on social issue and out of touch with a majority of voters in the state.

Shortly after the bill was introduced, House Democrats released a statement saying the bill was part of an “annual abortion sideshow.”

Humphrey, R-Severance, introduced the same bill last year.

Justin Miller, then serving as House GOP communications director, decided it was best not to allow Humphrey, one of the most conservative lawmakers at the Capitol, to talk about the bill with the press.

It’ll be tougher for the caucus to distance itself from the measure with its leader signed on as a co-sponsor.

The legislation would make it a class 3 felony for doctors who perform abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.  The bill would also ban Plan B, the so called “morning after” pill.

The bill also defines life at conception and would ostensibly establish “personhood” in Colorado’s statutes.

“Colorado Republicans push extreme positions that disrespect the women of our state and trample on their freedoms,” said House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder. “And then those same Republicans wonder why they lose elections.”

Delgrosso, elected as minority leader this year after Rep. Mark Waller gave up the position to focus on a campaign for attorney general, told FOX31 Denver that he supports the bill based on his personal faith, but that his co-sponsorship doesn’t mean that the bill has the support of the entire House GOP caucus.

“There’s nothing in this bill that prevents a woman’s right to contraception,” Delgrosso said. “But we do feel that it’s important to protect Colorado’s most vulnerable children.”

Delgrosso said that Humphrey is listening to constituents in his district.

“This is something that was very important to the people in his district.”