The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports on the intensifying campaign to protect abortion rights in Colorado ahead of a Supreme Court decision that could strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling–a battle that has raged year after year with less attention than it should have received due to what we can best describe as an enforced false sense of security:
If Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court, abortion access in Colorado, which in 1967 became the first state to loosen its abortion laws, wouldn’t be immediately affected. But there could still be threats.
The concern among abortion rights groups is that conservative counties or municipalities could try to pass local measures banning or significantly limiting abortions. Without the protections in Roe v. Wade, those local measures may not be challengeable in court without the passage of affirmative abortion-access legislation at the Capitol.
Karen Middleton, president of the Colorado abortion rights group Cobalt, said abortion access in the state’s rural communities could be particularly at risk…
The bill at the Capitol this year will be “intentionally narrow,” Middleton said. It will serve as a set up for the ballot measure seeking to change the Colorado constitution.
Passing legislation is faster and much, much less expensive than the millions of dollars that will be required to pass a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights. With that said, given the overwhelming rejection of abortion ban ballot measures by Colorado voters in multiple elections over the past 15 years, there’s every reason to believe that a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights would pass–especially if Roe is overturned and the negative effects of that decision become evident.
It may not be the case in every state, but in Colorado, as the threat to reproductive rights taken for granted for generations grows, the politics become more favorable for pro-choice Democrats. Colorado Republicans led by lifelong anti-abortion crusader Kristi Burton Brown are dogmatically incapable of recognizing the long-term political danger they face from near-term success at the Supreme Court on this issue. At least in Colorado, there are far more voters to be galvanized in support of abortion rights than against. Despite this, Republicans from Heidi Ganahl on down the ticket are making no secret of their desires.
In the long run, this is all to the long-term political advantage for Democrats, not just in Colorado but across the country. There are a lot of smart Republicans out there who are fearful of the political backlash against the right that will ensue if Roe is overturned. The human cost in states where abortion rights will automatically disappear if the Supreme Court allows it, however, make this prospect impossible to celebrate.
For today, what every Colorado voter needs to understand is these rights have never been in greater danger. Even in Colorado, where abortion was legal before Roe, one election is all that stands between the status quo and the formerly unthinkable.