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On heels of Colorado abortion law, Park County to vote on 'sanctuary' declaration

Amy Mitchell said the proclamation is simply meant as a statement about the county’s values, but her fellow county commissioners don’t seem to agree.

FAIRPLAY, Colo. — The three Republican county commissioners in Park County are slated to vote Tuesday on a provision that would declare the county “a sanctuary county for the protection of life,” a day after Colorado’s governor signed a bill ensuring the right to an abortion is part of Colorado state law.

The provision on the agenda was proposed by county commissioner Amy Mitchell, who said she wanted to do something after learning of the provisions of the state law.

“The citizens wanted a proclamation,” Mitchell told 9NEWS by phone Tuesday. “It is not a prohibition. It is a statement on the value of life.”

The proclamation says, in part:

BE IT FURTHER PROCLAIMED that this Board declares that innocent human life, including life from conception, must always be protected and that Society must protect those who cannot protect themselves

“I think part of our duty’s to protect to health and welfare of all lives in the county,” Mitchell said.

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Mitchell said the proclamation is simply meant as a statement about the county’s values. But her fellow county commissioners don’t seem to agree with her. Both told 9NEWS they would vote no on the proclamation on Tuesday.

“Commissioner Mitchell feels passionately that we need to try to stop all abortions in Park County,” said Park County Board Chair Dick Elsner.

“That’s not something we could do and it’s not something I would want to do,” he said.

Credit: 9NEWS
Park County commissioners

Elsner said his inbox has been flooded with constituent e-mails since the board’s agenda went public, most of them urging the commissioners to vote down the proclamation.

The vote comes less than 24 hours after Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed a bill into law that maintains abortion rights in the state should federal protections fade if Roe V. Wade is overturned.

One of that bill’s primary sponsors, Democratic House Majority Leader Rep. Daneya Esga, said the state law is specifically drafted to prevent confusion like this.

“That’s the main reason we knew we had to move quickly on this bill this year because if Roe falls in June we want to make sure counties can’t say that you cannot access abortion in their county legally,” she said.

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