How My Republican Grandfather Helped Legalize Abortion

In Colorado, Mid-Century Environmentalists Were ‘Uneasy Allies’ in the Fight for Reproductive Rights

In winter 1967, a young Democratic state representative named Richard Lamm introduced an abortion liberalization bill in Colorado’s House of Representatives. The bill passed quickly and moved onto the Senate, where it would be sponsored by a Republican, John Bermingham. The bill passed 20-13. Colorado became the first state to make abortion legal.

Bermingham was my maternal grandfather. I grew up six houses away from his red-brick duplex in Denver’s Cheesman Park neighborhood, and more than either of my parents, it was Grandfather who shaped my political sensibilities. (In a strange …