DENVER (KDVR) — President Biden’s order aimed at protecting abortion rights comes just two days after Gov. Jared Polis issued his own, protecting people from punitive investigations for helping those who seek abortions. Now, state lawmakers are looking to build on these new orders.
Lawmakers who worked on Colorado’s abortion law commend the president and governor for their orders, but they want to take it a step further by putting some of these protections into state law.
“Republicans here in Colorado and up and down the ballot are hoping voters in Colorado sit this one out because it’s a midterm election, and they are trying right now to actively flip our Colorado state Senate in order to block this pro-choice legislation,” state Sen. Julie Gonzales of Denver said.
Democrats at the Capitol are already looking ahead at how they can further protect abortions in Colorado next year. They already protected the right to an abortion with the Reproductive Health Equity Act.
“We’re working on RHEA 2.0 in order to make sure that next legislative session, we are doing everything and leaving no stone unturned when it comes to protecting Coloradans, whether they are seeking abortions or providing abortion care to everyone who needs it,” Gonzales said.
Dems aim to put abortion protections into Colorado law
Gonzales was one of the prime sponsors of the RHEA. She said she and House sponsor Rep. Meg Froelich want to start with putting the governor’s executive order into state law.
“We’re doing the legal research now to make sure that our protections are rock solid. Some of it will be codifying the steps we’ve seen Governor Polis take through his executive order,” Gonzales said.
Groups that advocate for abortion rights, like Cobalt, said the new orders put Colorado in great shape for abortion protections, but they want the state to focus on a different part of the abortion battle now.
“What we are looking at and what we hope our legislators will look at for next session is increasing the accessibility of abortion as well as protecting the right. So that can include things like looking at public funding bans, permanently getting rid of the Hyde Amendment. I don’t know if there is like an option for federal travel support for folks who have to leave for care,” said Jaki Lawrence, Cobalt’s strategic communications director.
When it comes to abortion rights legislation, lawmakers said the idea is to keep Colorado as an oasis for abortion with the possibility that leadership could change around the nation before next year.