The Durango Herald’s Luke Perkins reports on the long, drawn-out death last night in the Colorado House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee of Republican-sponsored bills to restrict abortion rights–bills that were always going to die in the Democratic-controlled House, but highlight the new threat to abortion rights from a federal government more hostile than ever to them:
House Bill 1086, which would mandate providing women information about ways to reverse chemical abortions, was heard by the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee.
After nearly five hours of testimony, the bill died on a 6-5 party-line vote, with Democrats disputing the viability of research backing the reversal option.
Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, said the lack of scientific support was a serious obstacle for mandating that information. “We searched for data supporting this, and the only thing we could find was a case study that had six cases in it,” Lontine said.
The “abortion reversal” push is a relatively new attempt to shoehorn in obstructions to abortion rights, and if anything has even less scientific backing than the usual fare:
In recent years, the rise of medical abortion has led some anti-abortion activists and lawmakers to claim that the process can be reversed with an emergency treatment after the first pill. But even if they succeed at turning that myth into law, the truth is that science is not on their side…
It is impossible to find reliable sources for the notion that medical abortions can be reversed. The Louisiana bill’s sponsor, Rep. Frank Hoffman, told WWL that he heard about it from George Delgado, the medical director of an organization called Abortion Pill Reversal (APR), at a Right to Life Conference in New Orleans.
Obviously, to institute a legal requirement regarding a medical procedure with so little medical basis is extremely bad policymaking. Even the unscientific studies put forward in support of the idea only indicate a fraction of such “reversals” are successful, and the procedure could itself be dangerous to a woman’s health.
And as Perkins continues the action didn’t stop there:
In addition to H.B. 1086, House bills 1085 and 1108 were also scheduled to be heard Thursday. H.B. 1085 requires facilities that offer abortions to file registration forms with the attorney general of Colorado, detailing how many procedures they have performed and a list of all the doctors who performed abortions at the facility. H.B. 1108 makes the termination of an unborn child a Class 1 felony.
Abortion registrations, and a simple bill to make abortion a felony. The latter bill we’ve seen more or less yearly in the Colorado legislature. Generally we have regarded this legislation as much more damaging to the Republican brand with moderate voters than it was ever worth in terms of motivating the pro-life base to support Republican candidates.
What’s different this year? In Colorado, not much. Our state’s Democratic House majority and Democratic governor are a solid bulwark against these kinds of abortion restriction bills passing into law here. But Coloradans can no longer ignore the fact that hundreds of similar restrictions have passed in state legislatures throughout the country.
As for the DOA abortion felony bill, it’s meant to be a vehicle for a state challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision establishing abortion rights once and for all. Before Donald Trump became President on a promise to see Roe repealed, this was little more than a remote and hypothetical threat–something you could imagine, but not reasonably consider possible based on political reality.
Well, folks? Notwithstanding Colorado, that political reality has changed. Now we have a U.S. Supreme Court rapidly tilting right, the most anti-abortion Congress and Executive Branch in modern history, and state legislatures controlled by Republicans across the nation ready to serve as guinea pigs.
In short, the abortion rights Coloradans have taken for granted for decades have never been more in danger–and every election, state and federal, should be considered a last line of defense.