House Bill 1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, will enter its second reading in the Colorado Senate on Tuesday. The high-profile bill passed the House along party lines with a 40-24 vote on March 14, despite Republican attempts to obstruct the effort.
Republicans led a record 23-hour filibuster in the Colorado Legislature leading up to the vote and the heated discussion between pro-choice and pro-life advocates will now continue in the Senate chamber this week.
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State Democrats introduced the bill to codify the right to abortion ahead of conservative majority rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court in two ongoing abortion law cases that could potentially weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade.
The bill declares that abortion is an individual’s “fundamental right” and that a “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of the state.” It also contains a provision that would protect abortion regardless of the high court’s decisions from state and local interference.
Even though the bill is expected to both pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate and be signed into law by Governor Jared Polis (D), groups on both sides of the political debate are planning to take more action on abortion.
Conservative groups including the Colorado Right to Life have announced intentions to sue if the bill becomes law. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to also enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution with a ballot measure that will be put forth to voters in 2024.