EDITORIAL: The threat to women’s reproductive rights signals the need to legislate in Colorado now

Anti-abortion protesters surround abortion rights advocates as both groups demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Abortion rights can no longer be a political afterthought in Colorado, or anywhere in the United States.

Eight years after former Colorado Sen. Mark Udall was scoffed at for focusing much of his election campaign against Cory Gardner on the reproductive rights of women, the state, and the nation are now living the nightmare of his prophecy.

Udall, a Democrat, in running for re-election against Gardner, a Republican, focused much of his campaign and political advertising on warnings that, despite public apathy, women’s reproductive rights were essentially an election or two away from being erased.

Udall was spot on in warning that there was real and present danger in not making it a priority during campaigns and crucial court appointments to ensure candidates would ensure they protect women’s rights to retain control of their bodies.

As warned, talk of “settled law” and “court precedent” have become meaningless as state after state, and the very country, devolves into backward-nation status in refusing to ensure women enjoy the right to command their own medical care and reproductive decisions.

Instead, despite the fact that the majority of Americans want women to make their own decisions on birth control, not the government, it’s clear the Supreme Court, Republicans in Congress and state legislatures across the country are working fast to end decades-old women’s rights on those issues.

The problem isn’t theoretical or isolated. It’s a national crisis.

In the long term, Aurora Congressman Jason Crow and others are right about the next Congress needing to create legislation protecting the rights of women against capricious decisions by partisan members of the Supreme Court, or state legislators bent on upending the rights of women.

Candidates and proponents for American women must be vocal and at the front of the election to ensure candidates are forthright and honest about their commitment to legislate for women and not against them. 

In the short term, however, Colorado lawmakers must guarantee that the rights of women here are protected from malevolent attempts to undermine them at a congressional, administrative, national court or even state level.

The best way to do that is by Colorado state lawmakers passing The Reproductive Health Equity Act, a measure that guarantees Colorado’s long-standing women’s reproductive rights are guarded by statute in addition to decades of precedence.

The measure states that every woman in Colorado has a fundamental right to seek or refuse contraception, to terminate a pregnancy or carry it to term, and that fertilized eggs and fetuses are not assigned rights under state law, which would usurp the rights of every pregnant woman.

While Colorado abortion rights laws have long been upheld both by aggregate state lawmakers and voters alike, repeatedly, the danger of encroaching on those rights is very real now.

Abortion rights proponents point out that women’s reproductive rights have prevailed over 41 attempts in the state legislature to undermine them — just since 2010. Four ballot questions seeking to undermine reproductive rights have been rejected by voters since 2008.

Emboldened by gains in the Supreme Court, dubious states like Texas and Mississippi, and extremists in Congress, Colorado voters have no choice but to shore up the authority of women here before setting out to ensure fellow citizens across the country enjoy the same freedom to control their bodies and decisions regarding pregnancy.

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Susan Carr
Susan Carr
7 months ago

Abortion is murder

Susan Carr
Susan Carr
7 months ago

Abortion is murder…

Good Citizen
Good Citizen
7 months ago
Reply to  Susan Carr

We can agree. Americans (and all humans) enjoy murdering people.

7 months ago

Abortion is legal.

For now

7 months ago
Reply to  Bones

A court should never have decided whether it is legal or not and should definitely not have twisted the Bill of Rights to do it. Ginsburg knew it was a terrible twisting of it and admitted as much. This should be overturned and states or the legislature should determine it.