EDITORIAL: Time for government to stop trying to stymie abortion rights


The thunderous U.S. Supreme Court decision, striking down an attempt by Texas and other states to illegally outlaw abortion by regulating abortion clinics right out of business, sends a clear message to equally unscrupulous anti-abortion proponents here in Colorado: Back off.

While the thorny issue of abortion and the laws affecting it are complex, the underlying foundation behind the strongly worded 5-3 decision by the court is crystal clear. Women have a constitutional right to obtain an abortion, and the government cannot contrive regulations infringing on those rights.

The shortsighted majority of conservative state lawmakers in Texas that created ridiculous and disingenuous abortion clinic restrictions, and their envious counterparts in Colorado, were put unequivocally in their places by this politically conservative high court. The right to abortion exists in the United States, primarily through a right to privacy, and can’t be usurped by flagrant scams like this one.

In Colorado, abortion rights are annually bombarded at the ballot box and on both the state House and Senate floors by equally nefarious groups and elected officials determined to find a way to sneak in limitations and restrictions. More often than not, these restrictions not only seek to limit abortion rights, but the measures almost always have unintended consequences that wreak havoc on other rights and the medical profession as well.

In the Texas case, anti-abortion activists considered their abortion clinic restrictions, disingenuously posed as needed to ensure the health of patients, as a clever end run. In reality, the high court said the deceit was obvious.

But by contriving medical regulations, the law would have had other far-reaching implications had it been upheld. It would mean state lawmakers could start regularly creating medical policy, rather than doctors.

And it’s no secret that insurance companies with deep pockets for lobbyists and campaign contributions would essentially have a new, legislative voice in the exam room with you and your doctor, where medically approved procedures could be denied simply because they aren’t available at clinics where you live.

This type of end-run legislative is dangerous for the health of everyone. Medicine and questions of medicine must be left to the medical profession, and that community was unequivocal in calling out the Texas law for the quackery it was.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to reduce or prevent abortions, but the way to do that in Colorado and other states is by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. Rather than continue to focus on these expensive, illegal and unethical attacks on clearly upheld rights, anti-abortion activists should work harder to fund provenly successful programs that provide free, quality birth control, and educate and empower women to control and ensure their own reproductive health and outcomes.

But this final and powerful decision was clear and absolute: The right to abortion exists, and government contrivances limiting that right will not be tolerated. So stop.