COLORADO — House Bill 22-1279 or the Reproductive Health Equity Act passed the Colorado Legislature on Wednesday and is now on its way to the governor’s office. The bill was introduced by House Democrats to protect a woman’s right to an abortion amid threats from the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade 1976.
“We are witnessing a massive attack on women’s reproductive rights across the United States. And we wanted to make sure that no matter what happened in June or later this summer, we protected a woman’s right to choose,” said House Majority Leader Daneya Escobar (D-Pueblo ).
Lawmakers supporting the bill said it shouldn’t change anything in the process of a woman seeking reproductive care.
“It just means what we have now will be enshrined in law,” Escobar said.
But, the bill has raised concerns among some community members who pointed to the section of the bill that would allow a fetus to be aborted at 40 weeks.
“One of our legislators said her own personal story was that she was born at 22 weeks,” said Robyn Chambers, executive director of Focus on the Family Advocacy for Children. “She’s a very early term baby. She was turning 50 this year. And one of the comments she said was, ‘Doesn’t every child deserve a birthday?’
Chambers said the bill also failed to defend women.
“I feel like we’re selling our young women short. I watch the young women I work with here at Focus on the Family every day. They are strong women. They are strong enough to achieve their dream of finishing school or their dream of having a baby and a career,” Chamber said.
Another way Chambers said the bill affects women’s empowerment is by not allowing for more education about their choices. Chambers cited the example of a young woman who took an abortion pill, then later decided she didn’t want to have an abortion.
“The information given to him was…you just have to finish. I don’t know if it’s a real education. When she doesn’t get all the real information so she can make a really empowered decision that’s best for her life,” Chambers said.
The bill’s sponsors said it stands up for women by keeping Colorado as a state that upholds women’s right to choose.
“Over the past ten years, over 44 anti-abortion bills have been introduced here in Colorado that are actually quite scary and that we were able to soundly defeat,” Escobar said.
If the bill passes, it will join 15 other states that have already protected abortion rights in the event the Supreme Court overturns Roe against Wade. The Court has not said when that will be decided, but talks usually take place before the term ends around June or early July.