COLORADO SPRINGS — With the future of reproductive rights nationwide lingering at the Supreme Court, Colorado lawmakers are taking the issue into their own hands.
Democratic State Representative Daneya Esgar (Pueblo County) is sponsoring HB22-1279, which aims to proactively protects women's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, take contraception, and prohibits them from being prosecuted or punished if choosing to seek an abortion.
Rep. Esgar says the motivation for this bill stems from the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade, plus Colorado's lack of laws surrounding abortion.
"That could mean certain municipalities or counties develop their own rules and their own laws around abortion access and reproductive health rights, and we just don't think that that makes sense."
Wednesday night, hundreds who identify as both pro-life or pro-choice flooded the state capitol to voice their opinions on the bill.
"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."
According to data from the Status of Women in the States organization, Colorado is ranked 21 for reproductive freedoms. Rep. Esgar says this is a result of having so few state laws in place which protect abortion rights.
Lawmakers who oppose the bill, like Republican State Representative Shane Sandridge (El Paso County), say the legislation is not structured enough.
"Colorado is the wild wild west of abortions due to the lack of regulations, lack of structure, lack of guardrails and what this bill does, is it wants to codify that lack of laws, lack of structure, lack of oversight within law."
According to COBALT, a nonprofit dedicated to abortion access and reproductive rights, in 2020, 64% of Coloradans surveyed agreed with the statement “abortion should be legal in all cases or most cases with some restrictions."
Rep. Sandridge believes the law will pass.
"The Governorship, the Senate, the House is all ran by Democrats who are, at this level, pro-choice."
The bill passed in the committee 7-4.
Rep. Sandridge says the House Full will debate the bill on Friday evening and believes it could be one of the longest debates over a bill in Colorado's history.
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