Colorado governor signs bill stating unborn human babies have no rights
04/12/2022 // Cassie B. // Views

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed a bill into law that codifies the right to abortion in the state. Although this doesn’t change much in the sense that abortions were already permitted there, it is getting attention for the fact that it explicitly declares that embryos, fetuses and fertilized eggs do not have any independent rights. This declaration is a response to past ballot initiatives that aim to restrict abortion by providing embryos with the rights of born humans.

With the bill, Colorado joins a handful of other states in codifying women's right to abortion in a statute as efforts are underway elsewhere in the country to limit access to abortions in anticipation of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling that challenges Roe v Wade, a 1973 decision that banned all states from outlawing abortion.

"No matter what the Supreme Court does in the future, people in Colorado will be able to choose when and if they have children," the governor said.

The Reproductive Health Equity Act passed in the state's democratic-led legislature following dozens of hours of testimony as well as some fierce opposition. It also bans local governments from putting their own restrictions on abortions.

The Colorado Catholic Conference has warned that the bill's language codifies a right to abortion throughout the full 40 weeks of pregnancy, as it states: “Every pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion.”

Colorado has become a regional abortion hub

Although the bill makes this official, it is already easy to access abortions in Colorado. There is no waiting period and no residency requirement, and while the state does require minors to inform one parent in writing 48 hours before getting an abortion, parents cannot legally stop their daughters from getting an abortion.


It is one of the few states in the nation with no gestational limit written into its abortion law, which means abortion is available up until birth. In 2020, a constitutional amendment was proposed there that would have banned abortion following the 22nd week of pregnancy, unless the mother's life was in danger, but it ultimately failed to pass.

Defenders of the new law insist that most abortions take place in the earliest stages of pregnancy. However, according to the Catholic News Agency, there were more than 170 babies aborted past 21 weeks of gestation in Colorado in 2019 alone. In the second trimester of pregnancy, abortions are usually carried out via dilation and evacuation, which results in crushing the child's head and dismembering it.

In 1967, Colorado was the first state in the nation to decriminalize abortion in most cases, and although it has allowed access to abortion since then, there was nothing in the state's laws expressly guaranteeing it. This bill accomplishes that, but it is worth noting that other legislation and ballot measures could still be introduced to reverse this new law. Some lawmakers are already working to have abortion protections added to the state’s constitution through a ballot measure to make it more difficult to overturn.

Colorado has become somewhat of a regional abortion hub that those living in other states with more restrictive laws flock to in order to terminate their pregnancies. Several of the state’s closest neighbors, including Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah and Nebraska, have abortion restrictions already in place that will go into effect should Roe v Wade be overturned. For example, Oklahoma lawmakers recently passed one of the country's toughest anti-abortion laws that bans abortion throughout the state, even in cases of rape or incest.

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