DENVER (CBS4) - Cheers erupted as Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law on Monday.
"It means no matter what the Supreme Court does in the future, women in Colorado will be able to choose when and if they have children," he said.
While Colorado didn't have any restrictions surrounding abortions prior to the bill, there were no laws protecting that right, until now.
"This is so proactive, and really says we are here in Colorado to serve our patients," Kristina Tocce, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, said.
She says in the days after Texas law began restricting access to abortion care they saw a nearly 520% increase in patients from there.
"Instantly we saw an increased number of patients from Texas. It used to be unusual and memorable to see a patient from Texas. Now, it's every day," she said.
If federal protections are not upheld, they expect those numbers will grow.
"It affects everyone: if you're a patient that has just come from down the street to our health clinic having a longer wait time for an appointment, having to have other patients' travel times taken into account," she said.
Colorado's Republican party, which has voiced strong opposition to the bill from its introduction, sent the following statement attributed to Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown in response to the bill signing:
"This is a truly dark day for any individual who respects the sanctity of life. Jared Polis' decision to put Colorado's abortion laws on par with China and North Korea is a moral disgrace. The Democrats have chosen to spend their time pushing a barbaric abortion bill, instead of fighting for issues that would help Colorado families. Republicans know every child deserves to be protected in love and in law. Make no mistake, we will never stop standing up for life."
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