Colorado Democrats send abortion access bill to governor

March 23, 2022 GMT
FILE - Colorado Governor Jared Polis, back left, and Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, back right, listen as Majority Leader Daneya Esgar speaks during a news conference on the west steps of the State Capitol about legislative plans for the upcoming session in this file photograph taken Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - Colorado Governor Jared Polis, back left, and Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, back right, listen as Majority Leader Daneya Esgar speaks during a news conference on the west steps of the State Capitol about legislative plans for the upcoming session in this file photograph taken Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - Colorado Governor Jared Polis, back left, and Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, back right, listen as Majority Leader Daneya Esgar speaks during a news conference on the west steps of the State Capitol about legislative plans for the upcoming session in this file photograph taken Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - Colorado Governor Jared Polis, back left, and Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, back right, listen as Majority Leader Daneya Esgar speaks during a news conference on the west steps of the State Capitol about legislative plans for the upcoming session in this file photograph taken Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - Colorado Governor Jared Polis, back left, and Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, back right, listen as Majority Leader Daneya Esgar speaks during a news conference on the west steps of the State Capitol about legislative plans for the upcoming session in this file photograph taken Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Democrat-led Legislature on Wednesday sent the governor a bill to codify the right to abortion in state law in a party-line response to efforts in other states to limit abortion access as well as pending constitutional challenges to the procedure.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has said he will sign the bill into law.

Colorado was the first state to decriminalize abortion in 1967, and it allows access to abortion but has nothing in state law guaranteeing it. The bill approved by the state Senate Wednesday after hours of debate would do just that, The Colorado Sun reported.

The Reproductive Health Equity Act would guarantee access to reproductive care before and after pregnancy and ban local governments from imposing their own restrictions. It also would declare that fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses have no independent rights under state law.

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Democrats introduced the bill as a direct response to the Supreme Court’s consideration of a Mississippi case that could overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 high court decision protecting the right to an abortion. They also cited a new Texas law banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

On Wednesday, Idaho became the first state to enact a law modeled after the Texas statute.

Minority Republicans in Colorado would still be able to introduce legislation and ballot measures that seek to limit abortion access. For that reason, abortion rights groups are weighing whether to pursue a 2024 constitutional ballot measure.

Over the years, Colorado voters have consistently rejected ballot measures to restrict access.