Colorado Governor Signs Bill Codifying the Right to Abortion With No Restrictions


Colorado Governor Jared Polis speaks before signing into law the Reproductive Health Equity Act during a ceremony outside the governor’s mansion in Denver, Colo., on April 4, 2022. The bill’s sponsors, Sen. Julie Gonzalez, far right, Rep. Meg Froelich, center, and House majority leader Daneya Esgar, look on with guests and other lawmakers at the signing. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

Colorado’s governor on April 4 signed a bill into law that makes permanent the right for women to get abortions.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed HB 22-1279, also known as the Reproductive Health Equity Act, after the Democrat-controlled state legislature approved the legislation.

The bill states that “every individual has a fundamental right to make decisions about the individual’s reproductive health care, including the fundamental right to use or refuse contraception” and that “a pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion.”

Additionally, the legislation says fetuses, or unborn babies, do not have “independent or derivative rights” in Colorado.

Polis and other supporters said the legislation will help ensure women’s rights are upheld even if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade.

“No matter what the Supreme Court does in the future, people, women in Colorado will be able to choose when or if they have children,” the governor said before signing the bill. “That includes assisted reproduction like IVF and it includes the legal ability to terminate a pregnancy without having to worry about being jailed.”

Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, a Democrat and one of the co-sponsors, said the issue is important to friends, family members, and constituents.

“And I think it’s more important now than ever for all of Colorado to make sure we’re protecting women and people who choose to be pregnant or choose not to be pregnant across this great state,” she said, adding later that “This bill is a bill that will make sure that we protect every single person in this state” and “we don’t ever want to see something that’s happening in Texas happen here in Colorado.”

Texas lawmakers in 2021 passed legislation that enables private citizens to sue women or doctors involved in abortions of unborn children who have a heartbeat.

The bill drew some criticism, including from Republicans.

Republican state Sen. Kevin Priola said the focus should be on compelling men to commit to women if they become pregnant.

“I feel that few if any women would ever consider this if they knew that they had a partner that would support them to the ends of the earth in raising a child,” he said on the Senate floor before the bill was approved in March.

Priola also said adoption should be the primary path for women who are pregnant and don’t want to keep their baby, not abortion. “See them as a blessing, not a curse,” he said at the time.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.



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