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Bill to protect abortion rights wins approval from Democratic-controlled House panel

The bill would establish a fundamental right to choose to continue a pregnancy or have an abortion in Colorado.

DENVER — Lawmakers worked overnight and into early Thursday morning on legislation that seeks to enshrine the unequivocal right to an abortion in state law.   

The House Health & Insurance Committee approved House Bill 1279 along a 7-4 party-line vote just after 3:40 a.m.

More than 300 people signed up to testify on the bill, also known as the Reproductive Health Equity Act.

Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Greenwood Village, one of the co-sponsors of HB 1279, told the House Health & Insurance Committee that HB 1279 would establish a fundamental right to choose to continue a pregnancy and give birth, or to have an abortion. Fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses do not have independent rights under the law, she told the committee. But women’s rights are under attack on this issue, she said.

RELATED: Renewed state-by-state abortion fight in the works

“This is about our right to make private medical decisions,” Froelich said. “This is ensuring access and affirms that people have the right to control their own bodies.”

Nineteen states have enacted restrictions on abortion, including a 2021 law in Texas that bans the procedure once cardiac activity is detected, which has resulted in copycat legislation in other states.

RELATED: Colorado Democratic lawmakers to sponsor bill upholding women's right to abortion in 2022 session

As Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, began to explain the bill, she was interrupted by a woman who started yelling about “killing babies.” The woman was removed from the room by Colorado State Patrol officer. A half dozen officers were on hand for the hearing. 

Read more from our partners at Colorado Politics.

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