GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — HB22-1279 has passed the Colorado Senate with a vote of 20-15. The Reproductive Health Equity Act will now head to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk to be signed into law.
The bill aims to protect abortion rights in Colorado in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, which secured abortion rights in the country.
“Colorado has a strong history of protecting access to reproductive health care, and today is no different. Impending federal action jeopardizes access to legal abortion, a healthcare choice that has been available my entire life,” Senate President Pro Tempore Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, said in a statement. “Today, in Colorado, we took a historic step forward today to ensure our neighbors have the ability to make their own choices when it comes to their body and their future. Starting a family is a choice, and that choice should be protected by the state. I voted to pass this bill because I believe every Coloradan should make their own reproductive healthcare decisions.”
The bill brought arguments from both sides of the aisle and led to the longest debate in Colorado history.
The bill states that individuals have a fundamental right to use or refuse contraception and that every pregnant person has the right to continue their pregnancy and give birth or have an abortion. The bill also states that “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights” under Colorado state law.
“This is a dark day for the Colorado Democrat Party and any individual who respects the sanctity of life,” said Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown. “If Jared Polis decides to sign this extreme abortion bill, he will put Colorado’s abortion laws on par with China and North Korea. The Democrats have chosen to spend weeks of this session pushing a barbaric abortion bill, instead of fighting for issues that would help Colorado families. Republicans know every child deserves to be protected in love and in law. We will never stop standing up for life.”
Senators voted along party lines with all 20 Democrats voting in favor and the 15 Republicans voting against, including Sens. Don Coram, of District 6 in southwest Colorado, and Ray Scott, of Mesa County. The bill is sponsored by state Reps. Meg Froelich, D-Arapahoe and Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, as well as Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver.
“Right now, reproductive rights are under attack across the country, and if Roe v. Wade is overturned, there is no Colorado law in place that would protect the right to obtain a safe, legal abortion, which is why this bill is so important,” Gonzales said in a statement. “The Reproductive Health Equity Act will enshrine the right to abortion access in our state’s laws, ensuring that every Coloradan is guaranteed their fundamental right to reproductive freedom and can make their own decisions about their life and their future.”