State Watch

Colorado legislature advances abortion rights bill over GOP filibuster

Pro-choice activists demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Monday, November 11, 2021 as the court hears oral arguments for Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas regarding the Texas abortion laws.
Greg Nash

The Colorado House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill codifying the right to an abortion, overcoming Republican opposition and the longest filibuster in the state’s modern history to do so.

The state House on Monday voted along party lines to approve the measure. It would add a provision in state law guaranteeing a pregnant woman the right to have an abortion, even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or fundamentally undermines Roe v. Wade. 

“Over and over again, we heard how important it is, how important it was and how important it shall be that these decisions be made by the pregnant person and their medical provider,” state Rep. Meg Froelich (D), the bill’s prime sponsor, said on the House floor as the bill passed. “Trust Coloradans. Trust women. Preserve our privacy, preserve our choices.” 

The bill earned fierce opposition from state Republicans, who mounted a nearly 24-hour filibuster late last week to delay its passage. On the state House floor, Republicans called the measure the most extreme pro-abortion rights bill to be debated this year before any legislature. 

The bill now heads to the state Senate, where Democrats hold 20 of 35 seats. If it passes, as expected, Gov. Jared Polis (D) has already said he will sign it.

Colorado’s legislation is one of a small handful of bills proposed or advancing in Democratic-controlled states in the face of the threat to rights guaranteed under Roe, the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that guaranteed women access to an abortion.

Three states — New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont — along with Washington, D.C., have passed bills guaranteeing the right to an abortion throughout pregnancy. Twelve other states have laws on the books allowing abortion access up until viability, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.

Meanwhile, Republican-controlled states are racing to place new restrictions on abortion rights and access in hopes that those laws will take effect when the Supreme Court acts on a Mississippi case they heard earlier this term that could weaken or eliminate the protections found in Roe. 

Idaho legislators this week put the finishing touches on a bill to ban abortion after six weeks of conception, with a provision that mirrors a Texas law passed last year that will allow people to sue abortion providers. Legislators in Missouri are considering a similar bill.

Tags Abortion abortion rights Colorado Jared Polis Roe v. Wade

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