For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2022
For More Information:
Aurea Bolaños Perea, COLOR
Laura Chapin, Cobalt
On Opening Day 2022, Coalition of 35 Colorado
Grassroots Organizations Urges General Assembly to
Act Swiftly on Abortion Rights
Denver – As the Colorado General Assembly kicks off its 2022 legislative session, a diverse, statewide grassroots coalition of 35 organizations are urging them to take swift action and put protection for abortion access into Colorado law with the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA). The legislation is sponsored by House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), Rep Meg Froelich (D-Littleton), and Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver).
The Reproductive Health Equity Act will ensure every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception; every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to choose to continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion; and a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of Colorado.
“The time to act is now, and waiting is not an option,” said Dusti Gurule, President of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). “Barriers to abortion access always fall heaviest on those with the least access to health care already – communities of color, low-income people, young people, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, rural Coloradans. RHEA would address that equity gap.”
And according to Cobalt President Karen Middleton, “This may be the last anniversary of Roe v. Wade. We simply cannot count on the federal courts to protect our Constitutional right to abortion in Colorado. And Roe has always been a floor, not a ceiling. We must ensure that abortion is not only legal but also accessible for anyone who wants it, without stigma, cost barriers, or political interference. “
While Colorado had successfully defeated 45 attempts to ban or restrict abortion at the General Assembly and at the ballot box, there is nothing explicitly protective of abortion access in Colorado law. Until now, Coloradans have relied on the Constitutional protection of Roe and the federal courts. This protection might not exist much longer, which is why RHEA is needed. The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe with the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging Mississippi’s unconstitutional abortion ban.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was argued on December 1, 2021, and a decision is expected in June, 2022 – although it could come sooner. It’s entirely likely abortion access could be struck down as a federal, Constitutional right and returned to the states. If Roe is overturned, abortion becomes illegal in roughly half the country, including many states around Colorado.
In 2020, 64% of Coloradans surveyed agreed with the statement “abortion should be legal in all cases or most cases with some restrictions.” Support was even higher for:
- “politicians need to stop trying to force their beliefs on women when it comes to abortion.” (82% agreed)
- “when it comes to ending a pregnancy, a woman should have the power to make decisions about her own body.” (76% agreed)
“We are in a state of emergency for reproductive rights and justice,’ concluded Dusti Gurule. “That is why COLOR and Cobalt will continue to rise up and act with our partners in this movement to affirmatively protect abortion rights, and we are calling on the Colorado General Assembly to do the same as quickly as possible with the Reproductive Health Equity Act.”
The organizations who have signed on in support of RHEA are: ProgressNow Colorado, Elephant Circle, One Colorado, Catholics for Choice, Colorado Women’s Bar Association,
Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, New Era Colorado, Soul 2 Soul Sisters, Young Invincibles,
Colorado Working Families Party, 9to5 Colorado, National Institute for Reproductive Health, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Movimiento Poder (Formerly Padres & Jóvenes Unidos),
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative,,Clayton Early Learning,Center for Reproductive Rights, Ipas, Aponte & Busam Public Affairs, ACLU of Colorado, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado,
Young Invincibles,All Families Deserve a Chance Coalition, All* Above All, Colorado Circles for Change (CCFC),If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice,Physicians for Reproductive Health, National Center for Youth Law, Center for Health Progress, Caring for Colorado Foundation, Voces Unidas Action Fund,State Innovation Exchange, Advocates for Youth, Women’s Voices for the Earth, Hunger Free Colorado, Emerge Colorado, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Women’s Lobby of Colorado