On Monday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill that guarantees women the full right of abortion.
Polis signed Colorado House Bill 22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, to prohibit local or state governments from enacting laws intended to “deny, restrict, interfere with or discriminate against an individual’s fundamental right to use or refuse contraception or to continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion.”
“A pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion and to make decisions about how to exercise that right,” the law states. “A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of this state.”
The act appears to counter laws passed in Texas and Oklahoma that stop abortions from occurring from conception or after the infant’s heartbeat is detected. Oklahoma’s laws have become the most strict in the nation. According to House Bill 4327, medical providers in the state would be barred from providing any form of abortion services, with the only exception being life-saving measures for the mother.
“Access to abortion and reproductive health care is currently under attack across the nation,” the bill states.
The Colorado bill was designed to offer equality across racial boundaries and allow residents of the state to continue a bid for personal success.
The bill says it will give individuals the freedom “to pursue personal, educational, financial, and familial goals” and “decrease the health and socioeconomic disparities disproportionately faced by people of color and people with low incomes.”
On Monday, during a signing ceremony, Polis said the Reproductive Health Equity Act would keep abortion legal in Colorado regardless of future U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
“No matter what the Supreme Court does in the future, people, women in Colorado, will be able to choose when and if they have children. We want to make sure that our state is a place where everyone can live and work and thrive and raise a family on their own terms,” Polis said.
Opponents have expressed concerns that the bill’s language permits women to have abortions up until the moment of birth.
Live Action is an anti-abortion group focused on ending abortion rights and protecting unborn children’s rights. The group’s founder, Lila Rose, called the bill an “all-out war against children in-utero” in a Monday post on Twitter.
Besides the all-out war against children in-utero, because it defines abortion as a right, the law could also be used to attempt to force medical professionals to commit or participate in abortions. There are zero conscience protections in the law.
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) April 4, 2022
Moreover, the bill does not require doctors to provide life-saving measures to children born as a result of failed abortions, particularly late-term abortions.
“Medical providers would listen to the mother’s instructions[,] which could include not providing life-sustaining medical care to the child, which would lead to the child’s death, which most reasonable people would consider infanticide,” said Noah Brandt, Live Action’s Director of Government Affairs.