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Controversial abortion rights bill gets approval, heading to governor’s desk

DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- Bills restricting late-term abortions are passing in Republican-led legislatures elsewhere, but Colorado appears to be headed in the complete opposite direction.

House Bill 22-1279 has passed through the Colorado House of Representatives. After 12.5 hours Tuesday, the Colorado Senate has approved the bill on a preliminary voice vote.

Wednesday, the bill passed one final vote. Now, HB 22-1279 is headed to the Governor's Desk to be signed into law.

With Democrats in control of the legislature, it was likely inevitable that the bill would pass through the Senate. Governor Polis has already said he will sign the bill if it ended up on his desk.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, while Colorado has very few restrictions on abortion access, state law does not expressly protect abortion.

HB 22-1279 is called the Reproductive Health Equity Act, and if signed into law, it would guarantee every person in Colorado access to an abortion, regardless of whether the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision is diminished or overturned.

The bill also prohibits state and local governments from denying or interfering with a person's decision to either use contraception, give birth, or have an abortion.

Republicans spent all day Tuesday debating the bill and proposing amendments. Many of the conservative legislators argued that the bill is premature, given that no change has been made by the Supreme Court yet. HB 22-1279 arrived in the Senate after the bill spent record time on the floor of the House, before passing last week.

Colorado is already one of seven states that have no law against late-term abortions and have no state-imposed thresholds.

Democrats say HB 22-1279 would not change that, but if it passes, it puts into law that abortions would be protected in the state, regardless of what happens federally. 

Still, Democrats worry that without HB 22-1279, any change at the federal level could restrict abortion access in the state.

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

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