Colorado will become the 16th state to enshrine the fundamental right to abortion into law
DENVER, CO – With Roe v. Wade in jeopardy at the U.S. Supreme Court, Governor Jared Polis today signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) into law to ensure Colorado’s laws protect fundamental reproductive rights, including abortion.
Sponsored by Representative Meg Froelich, D-Englewood, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Senator Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, RHEA updates Colorado’s laws to protect reproductive rights and establish a fundamental right to choose to continue a pregnancy and give birth, or to have an abortion.
“Across the country, and here in Colorado, abortion rights are under attack from GOP politicians who want to ban abortion in all cases – here in our state, we won’t let that happen,” said Rep. Froelich. “Coloradans have made it clear that they want to keep abortion legal in our state. I’m proud Governor Polis has signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law to safeguard reproductive rights in Colorado.”
“With reproductive freedom under attack at the federal level, we’re taking historic action today to ensure Colorado remains a safe haven for folks in need of reproductive health care,” said Sen. Gonzales. “Until today, Colorado law didn’t expressly protect the right to abortion care. We’re changing that because all Coloradans should have the freedom to make decisions about their lives and their futures. This landmark bill enshrines the fundamental right to abortion into Colorado law, and we sincerely hope other states choose to follow our lead. The health and well-being of millions of Americans depends on it.”
“Enshrining the right to choose when it comes to reproductive health care, including the right to abortion, shows we trust Coloradans to make their own medical decisions,” said Majority Leader Esgar. “Politicians shouldn’t get to decide whether or not someone is ready to start a family. With the passage of this law and the governor’s signature today, we’ve taken a giant step forward to protect fundamental reproductive rights and abortion access in Colorado, and I couldn't be more proud.”
The new law 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, and 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:
· HB22-1079, 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.
· HB22-1047, which would have banned abortion in Colorado with no exceptions. The bill would have also criminalized miscarriages and would have subjected abortion providers 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.