DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado lawmakers worked ahead of time to protect abortion care in the state this year and now they are already looking toward what could come next.
A handful of states in the nation have so-called “trigger laws” that went into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned Friday. The laws passed at the state level will effectively ban abortions following the Supreme Court’s decision.
In Colorado, state leaders are looking ahead not only to further protect abortions but following the opinion of one Supreme Court justice, they are looking to cover other rights as well.
“It’s very common for individual justices or smaller subset groups of justices to write their own concurring opinions where they say, ‘Yes, I agree with the majority either in whole or in part,’ but then they want to go on and explain more,” said Josh Wilson, professor of political science at the University of Denver.
Clarence points to same-sex relationships, birth control
That’s what Justice Clarence Thomas did in the Supreme Court’s 6-3 opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade. The conservative justice said the high court should reconsider cases dealing with the right to contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage. The decision led Gov. Jared Polis to look ahead to state action for further protection.
“Certainly same-sex marriage should be protected at the state level in case the Supreme Court removes that freedom as they are going after freedoms in other areas. We hope to be able to do that in Colorado. Like a lot of states, we got gay marriage because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges,” Polis said.
Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar was a prime sponsor of the Reproductive Health Equity Act signed into law this year in Colorado. It protects a person’s right to an abortion. While it’s state law now, Esgar said it may not stay that way.
“Even though we saw this coming because of the previous leak, it was still shocking and heart-wrenching,” Esgar said about the decision. “If the majority were to change in the state of Colorado at any point, that could be revoked or changed. What we need to focus on now is 2024. We need to focus on our state constitution and put into our state constitution the ability to access abortions and all reproductive healthcare.”
Leaders both for and against abortion say voting is key to the future of the issue. A 2024 ballot initiative would add the right to an abortion to the state constitution but conservatives at the Capitol could remove it from state law before then if they gain more power under the dome.