China, North Korea, and now … Colorado? Governor Jared Polis signed a new law late yesterday guaranteeing the right to an abortion right up until the moment of birth to each, er, “pregnant individual” in the state. The law explicitly denies any rights to human beings in their gestational period regardless of stage:
Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo., signed into law a bill creating a “fundamental right” to abortion, contraception, and other forms of “reproductive health-care rights,” while explicitly denying any right to a fetus. The bill explicitly addresses the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the Court is expected to overturn the abortion precedent in Roe v. Wade (1973).
Polis signed H.B. 22-1279, the “Reproductive Health Equity Act,” which the governor said “codifies a person’s fundamental right to make reproductive health-care decisions free from government interference.”
“In the State of Colorado, the serious decision to start or end a pregnancy with medical assistance will remain between a person, their doctor, and their faith,” Polis added in his statement Monday.
The law states that “Access to abortion and reproductive health care is currently under attack across the nation. Impending federal court cases, including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization,… jeopardize access to legal abortion care for tens of millions of people, particularly those living in most Southern and Midwestern states.”
The new law goes out of its way to pander to wokery, too. Its reference to “pregnant individual[s]” is both nonsensical and superfluous to a bill legalizing abortion until the final contractions. The words “woman” and “female” don’t appear once in the text of the bill, and the word “women” only appears in the citation of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case by which the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v Wade. For a law that supposedly involves removing oppression from women, females have been oddly erased from this issue in Colorado. As have babies, for that matter.
This law goes way beyond Roe or even Casey in its reaction to the potential reversal that may come in Dobbs. It strips rights from babies at all stages of pregnancy, even at viability, where Casey attempted to draw the line. It’s as radical an abortion-legalization law could be, on the extremes not just in the US but in the entire world, where only seven nations outstrip or match the US in abortion legalization — and that’s in the Casey context.
So congratulations, Colorado … you’ve put yourself on par with North Korea and China when it comes to human rights. John Roberts pointed that out in the oral arguments in Dobbs, in fact:
Whoa. CJ notes our current abortion law is as extreme as North Korea and PRC, and that, perhaps, even if we don’t look to international law for precedents, we should be aware of which countries we keep company with.
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) December 1, 2021
Here’s another point to consider as well. Colorado’s legislature passed another law a few years ago about the unborn. They balked at passing a broad fetal homicide law a decade ago, but followed up with another law that essentially accomplished the same goal:
The case renewed the nationwide debate over bringing murder charges in the violent deaths of unborn children.
Even though the baby girl died, legal experts say the case is complicated by the fact that Colorado is one of 12 states that do not have a fetal homicide law. State lawmakers in 2013 voted down such a measure over fears it would interfere with abortion rights, and voters overwhelmingly agreed when they rejected a similar ballot measure in 2014.
Colorado legislators did pass a measure that makes it a felony to violently cause the death of a mother’s fetus. The maximum punishment under that provision is 32 years in prison, whereas a person convicted of homicide in Colorado could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
If a fetus has no right to life, then how can Colorado enforce this law? The short answer is that they won’t; they didn’t enforce it in this instance from 2015, when a woman killed a pregnant woman (excuse me, “pregnant individual”) to steal the child, killing the unborn child in the process. That still doesn’t address the dichotomy that Polis and the legislature created in stripping all rights from human beings based on their stage of development with this new law.