April 5, 2022
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill on Monday that codifies the right to an abortion in state law, according to The Associated Press.
The Reproductive Health Equity Act, or House Bill 1279, guarantees access to reproductive care before and after pregnancy and bans local governments from imposing their own restrictions.
“In the State of Colorado, the serious decision to start or end a pregnancy with medical assistance will remain between a person, their doctor and their faith,” Polis said in a statement.
The bill states that “every individual has a fundamental right” to make decisions about their reproductive health care, including rights to use or refuse contraception and to continue or end a pregnancy. The new law doesn’t change the state’s current legal framework, Polis said.
“This bill simply maintains this status quo regardless of what happens at the federal level and preserves all existing constitutional rights and obligations,” he added.
Colorado joined 15 other states and the District of Columbia in codifying the right to have an abortion, according to NPR, either throughout a pregnancy or before the viability of a fetus.
States have been racing to pass abortion-related laws in recent months ahead of a pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that banned states from outlawing abortion, the AP reported. At least two dozen Republican-led states have passed legislation to ban abortion or severely limit access, while Democrat-led states have pushed to retain abortion access.
Colorado was the first state to decriminalize abortion in most cases in 1967, the AP reported. The state allowed access to abortion but didn’t have a guarantee in state law until now.
The Colorado law also states that fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses don’t have independent rights, the AP reported, in response to previous failed ballot initiatives that tried to restrict abortions by giving rights to embryos. In 2014, voters rejected a proposal to add unborn humans to the state’s criminal code, which would have allowed prosecutors to charge someone with a crime for killing a fetus.
“Colorado has been, is and will be a pro-choice state,” Polis said before signing the bill, noting that abortion restrictions elsewhere were “an enormous government overreach.”
“No matter what the Supreme Court does in the future, people in Colorado will be able to choose when and if they have children,” Polis wrote.
NPR: “The right to abortion in Colorado is now guaranteed under state l