Colorado Abortion Access is Facing Challenges in the Capitol

Republicans haven’t dropped anti-abortion efforts in the Capitol and this legislative session, a couple have raised eyebrows among pro-abortion groups.

On Jan. 19, Rep. Dave Williams of El Paso County announced his Abolishing Abortion bill. A handful of other bills have since been introduced, but groups that disagree with the efforts feel more annoyed than threatened after years of lobbying against an issue that they argue will never pass the legislature.

“This bill has been introduced for 10 years, back when Republicans controlled half the chambers. It’s unfortunate that abortion in Colorado is a partisan issue in the legislature, but it’s not one that voters disagree on,” said Jack Teter, regional director of government affairs at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

According to one 2020 survey, 76% of participants agreed with the statement “when it comes to ending a pregnancy, a woman should have the power to make decisions about her body,” in Colorado.

House Bill 1079 is familiar to many in the chamber. In 2020, a ballot measure proposed banning abortion in the state after 22 weeks with the exception of endangerment to life. Almost 59% voted against it.

Still, Colorado limits public funding for abortion and requires a parent or guardian to be informed of a minor’s procedure. Today, 87% of state counties don’t have an abortion provider.

Williams’ bill makes no exceptions to rape or incest, but he believes that it does restore “traditional pro-life efforts.”

Despite no pro-abortion groups being consulted about the bill, and Williams currently being the sole sponsor of the bill, he argues that the support has been positive and encouraging. 

“It just makes sense to people that murdering babies is morally wrong. Many citizens who value protecting innocent life from conception to natural death have reached out to see what they can do to help pass this critical bill,” he said.

Sermo, a social media network for physicians, reported in May last year that 64% of participants agreed to support access to abortion, and 91% agreed that a woman should have access to one in a life or death situation.

Republican Douglas County Rep. Patrick Neville recently introduced the Protecting Life at Conception bill. That bill proposes to make the termination of abortion a class one felony in the state and would be enforced similarly to the Heartbeat Act in Texas. 

Teter argues that the majority of Coloradans support abortion, and bills that restrict its accessibility only distract from more important issues to further reproductive rights. 

“These bills, every time they’re introduced, just waste everybody’s time and never pass. When we are talking to people [constituents], the most common thing we were hearing from voters is that they can’t believe another abortion ban is being introduced,” explained Teter.