Colorado has a history of taking the lead in shaping this country’s trajectory. This year, we have an opportunity to write another chapter in our proud, storied history by protecting access to abortion care as we prepare for a future after Roe.
Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion even before the decision in Roe v. Wade, and Coloradans have rejected turning the clock back on reproductive freedom in the legislature and at the ballot box. In 2020, voters across the political spectrum came together to decisively reject another abortion ban.
Our community supports reproductive freedom, but nationally the future of reproductive rights hangs on a U.S. Supreme Court decision on a Mississippi abortion ban case expected this summer. If the court allows this abortion ban to proceed, Roe will be rendered meaningless, and access to abortion care will become impossible in as many as 26 states. Colorado will remain a safe haven because we don’t have a restrictive law that will be impacted by the decision. And that places us in a position of great responsibility.
On the heels of the U.S. Senate’s rejection of a law that would protect abortion rights nationally, Colorado must step up. The Colorado legislature must pass, and Gov. Polis must sign the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which would insert reproductive health care protections - including abortion care - into state law.
In my new role as President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, my focus is on the health of the communities we are proud to serve. Health-care access is critical to the overall well-being of our neighbors, friends and families. At PPRM, we provide compassionate care to every patient who walks through our doors – whether they’re from the neighborhood, or drove for hours from a state where politicians have made abortion care impossible to access.
The time is now. This is the final legislative session before the Supreme Court decision. This is THE moment for action.
Tell Gov. Polis and our legislators we deserve the protection of a Colorado law asserting our right to abortion care. If we have learned anything from the past few years, it’s that we can no longer take for granted the constitutional rights guaranteed for the last 49 years under Roe v. Wade.
PPRM is proud to have served our region for more than a century. We’ve seen supportive political climates and hostile ones, attempts to chip away at our rights and paradigm-shifting wins advancing them. In all that time, one thing has remained true: the need for high quality, compassionate, accessible sexual and reproductive health care - the need for abortion care - isn’t going anywhere. Neither are we.
Our health centers have already seen the number of patients from Texas seeking abortion care jump as much as 1,400% in some locations since the state enacted its cruel abortion ban last September. Numbers like these are a harbinger of what’s to come. And we can’t forget that those who don’t have the financial resources or time away from work to travel to get an abortion will be the most impacted by what’s to come on the national stage, forced to carry pregnancies to term against their will.
As we build our future in what is likely to be a post-Roe reality, I’m confident Colorado will continue to lead. This is our moment to once again display the forethought and wisdom for which our state is known. Let’s seize it.
Adrienne Mansanares is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.