Colorado Readies to Become Abortion Beacon If Supreme Court Weakens ‘Roe’

Colorado Readies to Become Abortion Beacon If Supreme Court Weakens 'Roe' Colorado flag

Colorado flag. (Joe Sohm/Dreamstime.com)

By Brian Freeman | Tuesday, 29 March 2022 10:35 AM

As one of the most permissive states in allowing abortions, Colorado is readying to become a magnet for women residing elsewhere in the U.S. if the Supreme Court overturns or severely weakens its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, as it is expected to do, NPR reported on Tuesday.

Because questions from the new conservative majority appeared sympathetic to the idea that states should be permitted to decide their abortion policies when the Supreme Court heard arguments in December on a Mississippi law that restricts access to abortion, clinics in Colorado are preparing for an increase in the number of out-of-state residents wanting one.

"We're planning on it," said Margie Andersohn, practice manager at a clinic in the Denver area that is trying to hire more staffers and recently bought equipment that will enable it to perform abortions after the 20th week into pregnancy.

"We really do anticipate a lot more demand over the summer, unfortunately," said Dr. Rebecca Cohen, medical director of the Comprehensive Women's Health Center in Denver, referring to the potential effect of the Supreme Court decision.

Andersohn said "women are flooding in from Texas" to her clinic after Austin passed a law forbidding most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and gives a reward to those who successfully sue someone who provided an abortion or helped someone get one.

Some Colorado clinics are struggling to keep up with the rising demand.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that backs abortion rights, projects that the effects of the Texas law on Colorado may be just the beginning, because three of Colorado's immediate neighbors are "certain or likely to attempt to ban abortion immediately" if Roe v. Wade is compromised.

While legislatures in many Mountain West and Great Plains states are working to dismantle abortion rights, Colorado lawmakers are reinforcing the state's safeguards, even though it is already one of the few places without any restrictions on when in pregnancy an abortion can occur and is one of the few states in the area without a mandatory waiting period of up to 72 hours after required abortion counseling, NPR reported.

About 10,400 people received abortions in Colorado in 2020, with 13% of them coming from out of state, according to the Colorado health department.

Kari White, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, said "your ability to exercise your reproductive autonomy is going to be incredibly dependent on where you live."