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In Colorado, abortion remains legal after Supreme Court ruling

A state law called the Reproductive Health Equity Act, passed this year, guarantees access to abortion in Colorado.

DENVER — After Friday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, access to abortion will remain legal in Colorado.

After the court's ruling, decisions about abortion access revert to each individual state. In anticipation of such a ruling, the Colorado General Assembly passed a bill this year, which Gov. Jared Polis signed, that guarantees certain reproductive rights in Colorado.

The bill passed the state House by a vote of 40-24 on March 14 and the Senate by a vote of 20-15 on March 23.

> Video above: What the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade means for Colorado

Under the Reproductive Health Equity Act (HB22-1279), which was signed into law on April 4:

  • Individuals have a right to use or refuse contraception.
  • Pregnant women have a right to give birth or to have an abortion.
  • A fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have rights under the laws of the state.

This law doesn't mean the abortion issue is a done deal in Colorado. The law could be reversed by a future state ballot issue or by a state legislature.

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One of the sponsors of the Colorado bill, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, said Friday morning that the "fight isn't over."

"We knew overturning Roe vs. Wade was a real possibility, which is why I lead the charge on the Reproductive Health Equity Act to protect abortion because we trust people to make their own, private medical decisions," Esgar's statement said in part. "It was signed into law in Colorado, but our fight isn’t over. We must continue our efforts to protect access to abortion in Colorado and support the countless individuals who will have to travel to our state for an abortion or carry unsafe pregnancies to term.”

Fifteen other states besides Colorado, plus the District of Columbia, have protected access to abortion in state law.

Thirteen states have trigger laws — laws on the books that allow the ban to go into effect immediately or in short order if Roe is overturned. Other states with conservative legislatures are likely to try passing partial or full bans on abortion. 

Credit: VERIFY
This maps shows the United States in the absence of Roe v. Wade, including states that would ban all or most abortions and those where abortion would remain accessible.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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