DENVER (KDVR) — On the same day Florida’s legislature sent a bill to Gov. Ron Desantis’ desk that, if signed, would prohibit women from getting an abortion after 15 weeks, Colorado’s democratic leaders introduced a bill that legalizes abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
The main focus of HB22-1279 is to fortify abortion rights for women in Colorado, as calls from conservative officials ring out for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, which held up the constitutional right to have an abortion.
The Reproductive Health Equity Act was introduced in the house by its prime sponsors, Rep. Daneya Esgar, Rep. Meg Froelich and Sen. Julie Gonzales, before being assigned to the Health and Insurance House Committee, which will be held on March 9.
In a tweet Thursday morning, Esgar said, “I chose when it was the right time to bring our baby girl into this world. I feel privileged just to say that. As @RepMegFroe, @SenadoraJulie, and I introduce RHEA today, we are ready to fight for the right to choose to be written into CO law. #PassRHEANow#coleg#copolitics.”
If it were to pass through the committee and both sides of Colorado’s legislature, then state and local authorities would be prohibited from:
- Denying, restricting, interfering with, or discriminating against an individual’s fundamental right to use or refuse contraception or to continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion in the regulation or provision of benefits, services, information, or facilities.
- Depriving, through prosecution, punishment, or other means, an individual of the individual’s right to act or refrain from acting during the individual’s own pregnancy based on the potential, actual, or perceived impact on the pregnancy, the pregnancy’s outcomes, or on the pregnant individual’s health.
Abortion restriction efforts fail in Colorado, succeed elsewhere
As recently as Feb. 23, HB22-1075 failed in the House of Representative Health and Insurance Committee with a 7-4 vote against it. If passed, it would have required healthcare providers that perform abortions to collect private information about their patients and report it to the state registrar of vital statistics in the Department of Public Health and Environment.
Back in October, FOX31 investigators discovered that the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Park Hill saw a 520% increase in Texan patients.
This extreme rise in patients from the Lone Star State occurred less than a month after Texan legislators, led by Gov. Greg Abbott, imposed what some called the “fetal heartbeat bill,” which prohibited any medical providers from performing the procedure if a heartbeat was detected during an ultrasound.
Back in 1967, the first state to decriminalize abortion was Colorado and over the last 13 years, opposition to the legality of this procedure has unsuccessfully tried to criminalize it four times.
The most recent of these attempts, Proposition 115, would have banned abortion for women who are past their 22nd week of pregnancy. It failed, with 59% of Colorado’s voters against the measure.
Just last July, Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and other GOP members signed an amicus brief in support of Mississippi’s ban on abortions for women over 15 weeks pregnant.
On Thursday, Florida took steps toward making this same restriction legal to impose on every healthcare provider within their state.
On March 9, Coloradans will find out if their legislators plan to continue heading in the opposite direction when it comes to abortion rights for women.