R.I.P. Richard Lamm

By Dave Andrusko

While surfing the Internet this morning, I ran across a tribute written by Jon Caldara to pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm who passed away last week. 

The headline read, “Dick Lamm—a true political pioneer.”

In a huge understatement, Caldara observed

We are living in a Colorado that Dick Lamm greatly influenced.

As a state legislator, Lamm carried and passed Colorado’s bill to legalize abortion. 

The Denver Post rightly called the 1967 law 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.

Lamm, a Democrat, told the Associated Press in a 1996 interview,  “I was pushing on a half-open door. It gave way so much more easily than I ever dreamed it would.” 

Indeed within weeks, Republican Gov. John Love signed the bill into law.

The  Guttmacher Institute explains the significance. (The Guttmacher Institute was at one time 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 Meanwhile, four states repealed their antiabortion laws completely, substituting statutes permitting abortions that were judged to be necessary by a woman and her physician (see map).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.)

In a story that ran in 2017, on the  50th anniversary of the law’s passage, 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.

Lamm, a three-term governor. was probably far more [in]famous for his 1984 “duty to die” remark. Here’s the lead to the Associated Press story that ran in the March 29th 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.

Mr. Lamm died at the age of 85. He is survived by his wife, Dottie Lamm, with whom he had two children .