DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Colorado Democrats proposed an election-year measure to strengthen abortion rights. But they delayed a vote on their proposal Tuesday after a senator’s illness put the bill’s outcome in question.

The Senate was scheduled to debate a bill to guarantee that state or local policies won’t interfere with reproductive decisions such as abortion and contraception.

But with a one-seat majority, Democrats were unable to vote on the measure as planned Tuesday when a Democrat left because he fell ill.

The bill would also draw election-year contrasts on a divisive measure where Democrats think the public is on their side. It’s a symbolic measure because future lawmakers could change it.

Hundreds of religious conservatives rallied on the steps of the Capitol Tuesday in protest.

The Archbishop of Denver joined hundreds of Catholics outside the state Capitol to pray for the defeat of the bill he says would enshrine the right to abortion in Colorado.

“It is both extreme and dangerously ambiguous,” he said.

The legislation bars any government policy “that denies or interferes with an individual’s reproductive health care decisions.”

Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, the sponsor, says it’s meant to prevent laws passed in other states that require ultrasounds, for example, before an abortion.

“We have to make sure the people of Colorado know that their legislature will not go down that road,” said Kerr.

However opponents worry the legislation will not only block future laws, but may cancel out current ones.

“It’s so broad, so extreme, so comprehensive, it throws into question a whole lot of law that we already have today,” said Sen. Kevin Lunberg, R-Berthoud.

They say that includes parental notification and even pornography laws.

The bill defines reproductive health care in part as “information related to human sexuality.”

“Which is so broad that I think grabs pornography immediately, including child pornography because that’s still about human sexuality,” said Sen. Greg Brophy.

“This does not go back and change any laws already on the books,” said Kerr.

What exactly it does is a matter of fierce debate.

LINK: Senate Bill 175

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