Apr 14, 2023 - News

Colorado governor signs 3 major abortion protection bills

Gov. Jared Polis on Jan. 10, 2023 in Denver. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post via Getty Images

Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation Friday to extend insurance coverage and legal protections to women seeking abortions.

Why it matters: The trio of Democratic bills are designed to make Colorado a safe haven for women seeking reproductive health care as neighboring states move to restrict abortions and contraception.

What they're saying: "The climate of fear for patients, providers, and helpers of people seeing abortion care and gender-affirming care is very real and intentional," said Karen Middleton, president of Cobalt, a Colorado-based reproductive rights organization, in a statement.

The back story: The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year prompted the state Legislature to write a new law allowing for unrestricted access to abortion.

  • The governor also issued an executive order in 2022 adding legal protections to women who travel to the state for reproductive health care.

By the numbers: More women are seeking abortions in Colorado since the decision, and local reproductive rights organizations are spending thousands to help women without the financial means.

What's new: The new laws now codify the governor's order and go further to cement the state's position on abortion.

  • One measure requires some health insurance plans to offer cost-free medication abortions, contraception, vasectomies and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Another targets anti-abortion pregnancy crisis centers by making it illegal for them to indirectly advertise abortion services and provide medication that attempt to reverse an abortion.

Of note: The legislation extending insurance coverage for reproductive health care also includes coverage for transgender people.

The other side: Republican lawmakers introduced legislation this year to abolish abortions and fought against Democratic measures in prolonged and often charged debates.

What's next: Colorado reproductive rights advocates want to put abortion protections into the state's constitution through a ballot measure, but the governor has not endorsed the plan.

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