DENVER — While abortion has been legal in Colorado for decades, guaranteed access to the procedure was not technically state law, until now.
Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 1279, known as the Reproductive Health Equity Act, into law April 4, 2022. Democrats in the Colorado legislature passed the bill March 23.
The bill codifies protections for the full range of reproductive care, including abortions, and makes it so that a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have personhood rights under Colorado law.
“In Colorado, we truly respect individual rights and freedoms,” Polis said during a signing ceremony at the Governor's Mansion. After signing the bill, Polis, a Democrat, said, “Women's right to choose is now protected in Colorado.”
"I couldn't be prouder," said Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, after Polis signed the bill, "because in light of these attacks that we're seeing on being able to access abortion care and reproductive health care, we in Colorado are taking a stand and saying, 'No.' We trust Coloradans to make their own health care decisions. And that trust and respect is paramount, and to see that enshrined in law just makes me feel proud."
The vote in the Senate was 20-15 along party lines. Legislators debated the bill for 13 hours on Tuesday and then another two hours on Wednesday.
"It's really what the majority of Coloradans believe: everyone deserves the freedom to make the medical decisions based on their own circumstances. We must protect that right here. And that's why so many of us across the state are supporting HB22-1279," said Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Longmont).