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March 4, 2024

Personhood Bill to Ban Abortion and IVF Defeated

DENVER, CO – Democrats on the House State, Civic, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee defeated a bill cosponsored by a majority of House Republicans, including the Minority Leadership, that would criminalize abortion without exceptions and effectively prohibit in vitro fertilization (IFV) treatments. 

“Abortion and IVF treatments are safe, legal, and protected in Colorado – we will not let Republicans legislate away our fundamental rights,” said Rep. Jenny Willford, D-Northglenn. “Make no mistake: if Republicans were in power, abortion and IVF treatments would be criminalized, and pregnant people who miscarry or seek essential abortion care could be charged with homicide. In Colorado, your rights are protected, and we will always fight back against attacks on your reproductive freedoms.” 

“Sweeping abortion bans, like the one defeated by Democrats today, disproportionately impact communities of color and are dangerous to women’s health,” said Rep. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora. “Nearly 70 percent of House Republicans signed on to co-sponsor this abortion ban; their goal is to eliminate safe, legal abortion, criminalize IVF treatment and send mothers to jail for seeking life-saving health care. This bill endangers the health of pregnant people and bans family planning methods that many Coloradans rely upon as their only option to have children.” 

HB24-1224, sponsored by Representative Scott Bottoms, R-Colorado Springs and co-sponsored by 13 other House Republicans, would have redefined a "person" to include an unborn fetus at any stage of development from the moment of fertilization, which would criminalize all abortions without exceptions. Under this bill, those who receive abortion care or miscarry in certain circumstances would be punished and subjected to existing state law relating to prenatal neglect, homicide or assault.

This sweeping definition of personhood would have included frozen fertilized eggs, also known as embryos, used in IVF treatment. Under this bill, there would be no exception even if the embryos are damaged or nonviable. In February, the Alabama Supreme court ruled that frozen embryos should be considered ‘children’ under state law, further jeopardizing the legality of IVF and the treatment conducted by providers. 

Coloradans overwhelmingly support the right to an abortion and have repeatedly defeated ballot measures that sought to ban access to abortion. 

In 2022, Colorado Democrats passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA). This landmark legislation updated Colorado’s laws to protect reproductive rights and established a fundamental right to choose to continue a pregnancy to term, or to have an abortion.

In 2023, Democrats passed the Safe Access to Protected Health Care Package which protects the rights of patients, providers, future health care professionals, and those assisting patients in accessing and receiving care.

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