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Colorado leaders react to Supreme Court decision overturning Roe V. Wade

The Supreme Court has struck down Roe v. Wade, overturning the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide, and Colorado leaders have been quick to share reaction. The announcement on the Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision was released on Friday morning.  

The Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade in 1973, establishing that women have a right to get an abortion before a fetus could survive outside of its mother's womb -- typically around 24 weeks of pregnancy. After this time, states could choose to restrict abortion – as long as there were exceptions to preserve the life or health of a pregnant woman.

The Supreme Court ruling overturns Roe v. Wade, which means that states regain power to regulate abortion.

Colorado's elected leaders reacted to the Supreme Court decision after it was announced.

Sen. Michael Bennet released the following statement: "In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman's choice about whether to have an abortion is a fundamental, Constitutional right. For half a century, courts have repeatedly upheld this decision as a bedrock of American law. Today, a radical majority of the Supreme Court demolished fifty years of legal precedent. This activist ruling strips women of their individual liberty to make intensely personal decisions about their bodies and futures, and eviscerates their Constitutionally protected rights to freedom and equality. This ruling is not the last word. In the months ahead, the American people have the opportunity to elect pro-choice majorities in the Congress and in state legislatures across the country to codify in law the fundamental right to choose."

Sen. John Hickenlooper released this statement shortly after the decision was announced, "For 50 years, the Constitution has protected a woman's right to their own health care decisions. Today's ruling shatters that freedom. It threatens not just a woman's physical health and control over their own futures, but it also threatens to put them and their doctors in jail. The vast majority of Americans support the right to an abortion. Republicans should join Democrats today and vote to keep politics out of reproductive health care decisions. Let's follow Colorado's lead and protect the right to choose." 

Rep. Diane DeGette, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 1st Congressional District, tweeted: "In overturning Roe, the Supreme Court has just stripped away the right of millions of women to control what happens to their own bodies. We will not stand idly by & allow the court to strip away our rights like this. We will continue to fight this with everything we've got!"

Rep. Joe Neguse responded to the decision with this statement, "Today's decision by the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade is deeply disappointing. The ruling, which departs from nearly fifty years of legal precedent, will deprive countless women across the country of the freedom to make deeply personal reproductive health decisions. Our work does not end today, and we cannot lose faith. House Democrats know the importance of protecting our freedoms and constitutional rights. That is why we passed legislation earlier this year to codify Roe v. Wade. While these efforts fell short in the Senate, we must continue to make every effort to secure passage of this critical legislation." 

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican who represents Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, tweeted: "LIFE WINS! Glory to God"  

Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado's 4th Congressional District, tweeted: "VICTORY for the unborn and JUSTICE for federalism at SCOTUS."  

Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican who represents Colorado's 5th Congressional District, tweeted: "I applaud SCOTUS for making the right decision! The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, made half a century ago, was tragically wrong & caused insurmountable damage to our nation. Life is precious from conception to natural death & this ruling will save countless innocent lives."

Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 6th Congressional District, tweeted: "The right to privacy and control over our own bodies is not just law, it's an American value. This ruling is backward and dangerous to American families. It's time to join together with the vast majority of Americans -- it is urgent now that we pass federal protections."  

Gov. Jared Polis tweeted: "I grew up hearing the triumphs of the Supreme Court expanding freedoms, not taking them away. Colorado's history will remain true to that lofty vision. We will never take away your right to choose." He also wrote on Facebook: "While today's Supreme Court decision is shocking, devastating, and takes away a basic freedom from millions of women to decide when and how to start or end a pregnancy, I want to reassure my fellow Coloradans that the right to choose is protected under state law and that Colorado remains a state that supports freedom and choice."  

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released the following statement, "Today, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 50 years of settled and reaffirmed legal precedent affirming the constitutional right to an abortion. The Court's decision is not only legally incorrect, but also remarkably out of step with the views of the two-thirds of Americans who believe government should not interfere in a woman's very personal decision to end a pregnancy.

"The Court's decision to overrule Roe v. Wade will cause significant suffering and harm. In many states, women who are raped will be forced to continue the pregnancy, causing untold mental anguish and distress. Doctors providing abortions will be arrested and jailed. Women who cannot access abortion care will resort to desperate and dangerous measures to end a pregnancy, even in ways that threaten their health. Women who experience life-threatening conditions during pregnancy will die. And women of color will be disproportionately impacted. These scenarios are now realities as laws in other states restricting abortion go into effect.

"As attorney general, I am committed to doing all I can to make certain all women have access to safe abortion care. Abortion remains legal in Colorado even after Dobbs. The Colorado Reproductive Health Equity Act guarantees the right to abortion and reproductive healthcare, including the right to medication abortion. The Dobbs decision does not curtail these rights in Colorado and these protections remain available for all seeking reproductive healthcare in our state regardless of their residency. I will continue to defend these rights and work to protect Colorado's medical professionals who provide reproductive care to all who seek it in our state."

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued the following statement, "The decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is devastating and a dangerous reversal of precedent. Never before has the Court taken away a right. Never before has the Court opened the door so widely to an assault on other foundational rights. This decision is nothing more than an incendiary attack on women's rights and women's health, and the consequences to the rule of law will be profound. Thankfully, Colorado has protected this right, and our city and state will continue to stand up for women and their right to autonomy over their own bodies and healthcare decisions. But across the country, millions of women instantly have been relegated to second class citizens and stripped of essential freedoms. The only thing the Supreme Court achieved today is to undermine our Constitution and the people's trust in the institution of the Court. Congress must act now to codify Roe into law to counter this highly politicized, supremely misguided action."

In Colorado, a new state law ensured abortion would remain legal in Colorado regardless of Roe v. Wade. In May, Gov. Jared Polis signed into law House Bill 12-79, also known as the Reproductive Health Quality Act, giving women the right to an abortion. It also states an egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights.

Colorado has seen abortion rights and anti-abortion rights protests and ballot issues for years. According to the state bill, there have been more than 40 attempts to criminalize or outlaw abortion in Colorado since 2010. 

Colorado has recently seen an influx of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies from surrounding states that have restrictive measures surrounding abortion or that outlaw abortion, and there's a likelihood of an even bigger surge now. Many women sought care in Colorado when abortion laws changed in other states last year. Nearly half of the patients at Planned Parenthood in Denver at one point were from Texas, which enacted a law in 2021 that makes it illegal for someone to perform an abortion 6 weeks after pregnancy.

According to CDPHE, about 13% of abortions performed last year were for out-of-state residents.

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