Critical legislation will enshrine the fundamental right to abortion care in Colorado law
A case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court could fundamentally jeopardize the nearly 50-year old Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion the United States. In many Conservative-controlled state legislators, restrictive laws have already passed or are in progress to limit a woman’s right to control own body. With that in mind, on Tuesday Colorado Senate Democrats advanced the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) to ensure Colorado’s laws protect fundamental reproductive rights, including abortion, on a preliminary vote.
Sponsored by Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver), RHEA would update Colorado’s laws to protect reproductive rights and establish that every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to choose to continue that pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion.
“Right now, reproductive rights are under attack across the country, and if Roe v. Wade is overturned, there is no Colorado law in place that would protect the right to obtain a safe, legal abortion, which is why this bill is so important,” Gonzales said. “The Reproductive Health Equity Act will enshrine the right to abortion access in our state’s laws, ensuring that every Coloradan is guaranteed their fundamental right to reproductive freedom and can make their own decisions about their life and their future.”
The bill (HB22-1279 ) also ensures that every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception.
RHEA comes as attacks on access to abortion have proliferated across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn decades of precedent this spring. At least 519 abortion restrictions have been introduced in 41 states so far this year according to the National Women’s Law Center.
Colorado remains committed to ensuring abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible. Recently, House Democrats defeated three Republican-led bills that would have jeopardized that right, including:
HB 22-1079 — which would have placed an unconstitutional ban on abortion in Colorado with no exceptions. The bill explicitly directed Colorado to disregard federal law and federal court rulings and would subject Colorado judges who support access to abortion to impeachment. In addition, it would have allowed a private right of action against abortion providers, and potentially patients too. (The fact that it was introduced by a Republican man, Dave Williams, and had no other sponsors should tell you that it was a fringe proposal.)
HB22-1047 — which would have banned abortion in Colorado with no exceptions. The bill would have also criminalized miscarriages and would have subjected providers who perform an abortion to imprisonment.
HB22-1075 — which would have established a registry to track and surveil abortion patients and providers. It also would have created a roadmap for abortion opponents to identify and further threaten abortion patients and providers.
Readers can track the bill’s progress HERE.