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Colorado Reproductive Rights Bill heads to desk of Governor Polis

Posted at 6:19 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 09:56:03-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado bill that would guarantee abortion rights is now headed to the desk of Governor Polis after a final vote in the legislature.

Earlier this week, the Colorado Senate passed HB22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, on a 20 to 15 party-line vote. It was written with the possibility that the US Supreme court could overturn Roe vs. Wade in a decision this summer.

The bill would give full access to reproductive health care in Colorado to anyone who may become pregnant. It also calls people's access to contraception a "fundamental right." State and local entities would also be prohibited from interfering with a person's right to continue a pregnancy, give birth, or have an abortion.

It's a highly disputed and contested bill with arguments on both sides.

Keep in mind, Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion in 1967, six years before Roe vs. Wade. Therefore Coloradans do have a history of protecting access to reproductive healthcare.

Robyn Chambers, the executive director of advocacy for children at Focus on the Family says, if and when this bill is signed into law by Polis, it would be the most radical abortion law in the United States.

For decades, the organization has believed in and fought for pro-life. Chambers spoke about the ramifications and what's at stake, if this bill is signed into law.

"I think one of the most egregious parts of this bill is the removal of parental notification that causes me great concern. A young girl, maybe even as young as 14, can go into an abortion provider and get an abortion. That's a scary time in her life and she's in that unplanned pregnancy. That's when she needs her parents the most," said Chambers.

Others say they're concerned that people might decide late in their pregnancies to terminate them, even though those represent a small percentage of abortions.

In the meantime, the organization said they won't stop working to protect the rights of the unborn. They'll continue to use science and technology, like ultrasounds, to educate women about what's going on in their bodies. They'll help navigate options like parenting and adoption, and provide all necessary resources for mothers and families.

"I don't know that I would say how are we going to work on overturning this? How about we work on making abortion unthinkable? What if we can support that woman with everything she needs, everything from affordable housing, affordable health care all the way through to child care for her and scholarship help for her," said Chambers.

Those who support the bill say it's about a woman's right, because her choice, her body.

Democratic State Representative Daneya Esgar from Pueblo sponsored the bill, and says the motivation for it stems from the possibility of the U.S. Supreme court overturning Roe vs. Wade. As mentioned, it also bans local governments from imposing their own restrictions.

"Nobody should have to make these decisions based off of a politicians ideas, these are very personal and very real questions and considerations that people are going to have to consider with their healthcare provider and that's it," said Representative Esgar.

According to data from the Status of Women in the States Organization, Colorado is ranked 21st for reproductive freedoms. Representative Esgar says this is a result of having so few state laws in place which protects abortion rights.

The bill now sits on Governor Polis' desk, and he is expected to sign it.