Is there any common ground for one of the most contentious issues of our time? It’s easier to find if we look beyond some misconceptions about the abortion debate. As it turns out:

• Not all supporters of abortion rights in Colorado think the procedure should be legal in all circumstances.

• Not all opponents of legal abortion in Colorado seek to ban it in all circumstances.

• Plenty of medical science supports the case for reasonable limits on abortion — limits that sync with the sensibilities of many voters across the political and religious spectrum.

Which helps explain why Coloradans with wide-ranging political as well as personal views set aside their differences over abortion a number of years ago to enact a parental-notice law.

It only made sense. In a state where public schools cannot dispense so much as an aspirin to a minor student without the consent of a parent or guardian, surely that parent or guardian should at least be apprised if a 14-year-old child plans to undergo an invasive medical procedure that, for many, has fundamental moral implications.

Another chance to find common ground on abortion policy appears on this fall’s statewide ballot as Proposition 115. It would end late-terms abortions — pregnancies terminated after 22 weeks — when unborn babies are regarded as substantially formed and biologically viable. The proposal allows an exception if the birth mother’s life is in danger.

We urge a “yes” vote on this sensible and needed reform. Babies can be born and survive after 22 weeks. It’s simple science. Yet, Colorado is one of a handful of states with no cutoff for abortions performed on adults.

While some will argue against any attempt to put guardrails around abortion, most Americans in survey after survey have looked askance at abortions performed late in pregnancy and have shown support for curtailing them. Doing so squares with court rulings, too.

To borrow from the familiar bumper sticker, most of society seems to feel it’s a child, not a choice — at least, by that stage of the pregnancy.

The overwhelming majority of states — 43 — have placed restrictions on abortion later in pregnancy. It’s time for Colorado to tap the brakes, as well.

The Gazette Editorial board

Minneapolis Star Tribune

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