DENVER — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday morning overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, and reaction from Colorado leaders and groups are flooding in.
The decision comes in an opinion issued on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — which overruled the landmark 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case as well as Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. The 6-3 opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito. Joining Alito were Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts filed a concurring opinion. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan filed a dissenting opinion.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in April signed a bill passed by lawmakers that guarantees abortion access and other reproductive rights into state statute, called the Reproductive Health Equity Act.
Sponsors said they would prepare a statewide constitutional amendment ballot measure for 2024 to enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution.
Here’s how Colorado officials and groups are reacting to ending constitutional protections to abortion:
Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo.
“Coloradans do not want politicians making their healthcare decisions. Because of my administration and Democratic leadership in the legislature, Coloradans don’t have to worry because our rights are still protected today despite the unfortunate reality that the U.S. Supreme just rolled those freedoms back for millions of Americans in other states. In Colorado, we will continue to choose freedom and we stand against government control over our bodies. State leadership matters now more than ever and in Colorado we will not retreat to an archaic era where the powerful few controlled the freedoms over our bodies and health decisions.”
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
“In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman’s choice about whether to have an abortion is a fundamental, Constitutional right. For half a century, courts have repeatedly upheld this decision as a bedrock of American law.
“Today, a radical majority of the Supreme Court demolished fifty years of legal precedent. This activist ruling strips women of their individual liberty to make intensely personal decisions about their bodies and futures, and eviscerates their Constitutionally protected rights to freedom and equality.
“This ruling is not the last word. In the months ahead, the American people have the opportunity to elect pro-choice majorities in the Congress and in state legislatures across the country to codify in law the fundamental right to choose.”
U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.
“For 50 years, the Constitution has protected a woman’s right to their own health care decisions. Today’s ruling shatters that freedom. It threatens not just a woman’s physical health and control over their own futures, but it also threatens to put them and their doctors in jail.
“The vast majority of Americans support the right to an abortion. Republicans should join Democrats today and vote to keep politics out of reproductive health care decisions. Let’s follow Colorado’s lead and protect the right to choose.”
Pro-Choice Caucus, Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
“We cannot overstate the devastating impact that this horrific decision will have on millions of people across this country. By disregarding fifty years of legal precedent, the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively stripped away from 36 million women the freedom to control their own bodies and have handed that power, instead, to the politicians in their states.
“Every situation and pregnancy is different, and everyone deserves the power and freedom to make their own decisions about their health, lives and future. Yet now, as a result of today’s decision, women in nearly half of the states across the U.S. face a terrifying legal landscape when trying to access the abortion care they need – one that will undoubtedly put the health and economic futures of millions of women at risk.
“For Republicans determined to control other people’s reproductive decisions, this decision is just the beginning of their quest to make it impossible for women to get an abortion in this country. For years, these extremists have been working to enact state laws designed to chip away at Americans’ right to access the abortion care they need. And now, as federal protections fall, these laws, which are already in place in states like Texas and Oklahoma, will soon become law in many other places as well as even more state legislatures move to ban and restrict access to abortion care within their borders.
“While such bans on abortion care affect everyone in a particular state, they disproportionately impact those who already face significant barriers to accessing the care they need – including young people, people of color, those living in rural areas and those working to make ends meet.
“As the leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, we will never give up our fight to ensure that everyone in this country – regardless of where they live – has a right to make their own decisions about pregnancy and parenthood. We trust people – not politicians – to make their own decisions about their bodies, health, and lives.
“And we are more determined and committed than ever to continue doing everything we can – at every turn, and at every opportunity possible – to not only restore the protection that had been provided to us for more than 50 years under Roe, but to expand abortion access to ensure that everyone – no matter their income or zip code – has access to the care they need.”
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.
"The right to privacy and control over our own bodies is not just law, it’s an American value. This ruling is backward and dangerous to American families. It’s time to join together with the vast majority of Americans -- it is urgent now that we pass federal protections."
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo.
“The Supreme Court made the right decision in overturning Roe v. Wade, a tragic abortion mandate that has cost over 73 million unborn babies their lives. The power to decide this profound moral question has officially returned to the states, where it will be debated and settled in the way it should be in our democratic society—by the people.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade is deeply disappointing. The ruling, which departs from nearly fifty years of legal precedent, will deprive countless women across the country of the freedom to make deeply personal reproductive health decisions.
“Our work does not end today, and we cannot lose faith. House Democrats know the importance of protecting our freedoms and constitutional rights. That is why we passed legislation earlier this year to codify Roe v. Wade. While these efforts fell short in the Senate, we must continue to make every effort to secure passage of this critical legislation.”
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
“LIFE WINS! Glory to God.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.
"I applaud SCOTUS for making the right decision! The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, made half a century ago, was tragically wrong & caused insurmountable damage to our nation. Life is precious from conception to natural death & this ruling will save countless innocent lives."
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.
“Today’s ruling formalizes a decades-long attempt to take away a women’s constitutional right to choose and the freedom to do what is best for her and her family. Women’s healthcare decisions are between her and her doctor. I applaud the actions taken by Colorado and other states to prioritize women’s healthcare and uphold women’s reproductive freedoms. However, by dismantling these federal protections, a patchwork of disparate state laws will emerge and women across the country will be left with uneven, unjust and dangerous options for their reproductive healthcare needs. For too many women across this country, today is a dark day and marks the loss of a basic right and a freedom to make their own healthcare decisions and control their future.”
Attorney General Phil Weiser, D-Colo.
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 50 years of settled and reaffirmed legal precedent affirming the constitutional right to an abortion. The Court’s decision is not only legally incorrect, but also remarkably out of step with the views of the two-thirds of Americans who believe government should not interfere in a woman’s very personal decision to end a pregnancy.
“The Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade will cause significant suffering and harm. In many states, women who are raped will be forced to continue the pregnancy, causing untold mental anguish and distress. Doctors providing abortions will be arrested and jailed. Women who cannot access abortion care will resort to desperate and dangerous measures to end a pregnancy, even in ways that threaten their health. Women who experience life-threatening conditions during pregnancy will die. And women of color will be disproportionately impacted. These scenarios are now realities as laws in other states restricting abortion go into effect.
“Overruling Roe v. Wade—a decision repeatedly reaffirmed over the last 50 years—was a momentous mistake on multiple levels. And the Court’s lack of sensitivity in Dobbs to a range of issues now open to litigation portends more legal battles to come. I will stand firm for protecting personal freedoms when they are attacked—whether those challenges relate to access to the morning after pill to access to birth control to marriage equality. By opening the door to chipping away these established precedents, the Supreme Court has undermined public confidence in the rule of law, dealing itself and its reputation a self-inflicted wound. The Court and the nation will come to regret this decision to undermine women’s equality and personal freedoms. That’s why I believe that, after much harm and pain to many, our country should and will find a way to permanently protect reproductive rights.
“As attorney general, I am committed to doing all I can to make certain all women have access to safe abortion care. Abortion remains legal in Colorado even after Dobbs. The Colorado Reproductive Health Equity Act guarantees the right to abortion and reproductive healthcare, including the right to medication abortion. The Dobbs decision does not curtail these rights in Colorado and these protections remain available for all seeking reproductive healthcare in our state regardless of their residency. I will continue to defend these rights and work to protect Colorado’s medical professionals who provide reproductive care to all who seek it in our state.
“As part of my duties to defend all state laws, our office will defend the Reproductive Health Equity Act in court if necessary and will ensure it is followed.”
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (Democrat)
"I am devastated and outraged. Stripping away Americans' freedom to make decisions about our bodies, health, economic independence, safety & future is an injustice and tragedy. Pregnancy should not be forced on women by government-it’s an individual’s freedom to make that choice.
"While Colorado remains a safe place, we must keep fighting. For every Texan, for every Tennessean, for every woman in Louisiana whose medical decisions have just been stripped from them and criminalized, we must keep fighting.
"Make no mistake: this is part of a broader assault on our fundamental rights, including our right to vote, to privacy, and to love freely — all to impose the extremist views of a few on the majority.
"The majority of voters are women. And we are mad as hell."
Colorado Senate Majority Caucus
“We strongly condemn the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision that has federally protected the right to abortion under the U.S. Constitution for the last 49 years. Today’s decision undermines the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court, and undercuts decades of legal precedent. By overturning Roe v. Wade, millions of pregnant Americans will lose the ability to access a safe abortion.
“We believe that every single American should have the freedom to decide when they want to start a family, and the liberty to seek out critical, often life-saving medical care, without interference from politicians. To be clear: today’s decision will not stop abortions from happening. It will stop safe abortions from happening, and put the lives of millions of Americans at risk while doing so.
“In Colorado, Democrats passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act because we anticipated that this day would come. Now and always, we will fight to ensure that every pregnant American’s decision regarding abortion and reproductive health care is respected and honored. Today serves as a stark reminder that the freedoms we enjoy cannot be taken for granted. It is also an opportunity for us to unite as Americans and demand change. We call on every single member of Congress to put politics aside and immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, a federal measure that will codify abortion rights in law, once and for all. Abortion is a fundamental right, and we will fight for that right – for as long as it takes.”
House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, R-Loveland
"The United States Supreme Court today has cleared the way for individual states to determine their own abortion laws. Striking down Roe now pushes abortion rights and limitations back to the states with local voters deciding their own individual rules based on that state’s values and judgment.
"In Colorado, during the last legislative session, the liberal Democrat majority passed the most extreme pro-abortion law in the United States. In their rush to pass, Colorado Democrats ignored many legal and moral realities that I believe should have been considered if Colorado is to legislate both with compassion and good science.
"This, I believe, was a mistake to ignore the many concerned voices who care deeply about both the rights of Colorado mothers and the unborn and quickly pass into law such an extreme law, which allows abortion unfettered in our state, including making abortion 'a fundamental right' while at the same time removes all rights of the unborn.
"The so-called 'Reproductive Health Equity Act' disregards what every Colorado parent knows who has witnessed their child’s heartbeat on an ultrasound – that this is life and there should be some restriction on, at the very least, late-term abortions. The Democrats have gone too far with their extreme legislation, and I believe we can do better for Colorado families.
"Today’s opinion from the high court will be controversial. And while I support every American’s right to peacefully protest, I strongly condemn hostility and destruction in our Colorado communities. We have already seen threats turn to violence in our churches and against our judges, we must not now allow passions to overtake our better judgment.
"In Colorado, we must work together to improve the lives of all Coloradans – those citizens who live and work in our communities now and those yet to be born."
Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, sponsor of Reproductive Health Equity Act
“This decision by five Republican-appointed Justices is a travesty of justice, a perversion of our Constitution, and a tragedy for the American people. In a ruling that restricts the rights of all Americans and opens the door to ban marriage equality and contraception, the Court has stripped millions of women of our bodily autonomy, reproductive freedom, and the rights that have been the law of the land for over fifty years. We knew overturning Roe vs. Wade was a real possibility, which is why I lead the charge on the Reproductive Health Equity Act to protect abortion because we trust people to make their own, private medical decisions. It was signed into law in Colorado, but our fight isn’t over. We must continue our efforts to protect access to abortion in Colorado and support the countless individuals who will have to travel to our state for an abortion or carry unsafe pregnancies to term.”
Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood, sponsor of Reproductive Health Equity Act
“For decades, Republican politicians and secretive outside groups worked to put conservatives in power on the Supreme Court in order to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion. With this decision, ultra right-wing politicians are now free to impose their own beliefs on everyone else, send abortion providers and patients to prison, and put bounties on anyone who helps them. In large parts of our country, women have become second-class citizens overnight and no longer have the right to determine their futures and make decisions that impact their livelihoods. People in these states will be forced to carry pregnancies to term, travel out of sate, or seek potentially unsafe abortions, a burden that will disproprtinately fall on women of color and lower-income Americans. This disgraceful decision imperils the lives of those seeking an abortion and threatens the health, economic security and freedom of millions of Americans.”
Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson Kailee Stiles
“If Republicans take the Governor’s Mansion this election, the abortion protections Coloradans count on will become a distant memory. These out of touch candidates have no problem putting lives in danger just to enforce a narrow religious view on the total population.”
Adrienne Mansanares, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
“Let me be clear: Today, just like yesterday and tomorrow as well, our doors are open. In the Rocky Mountain region, access is safe and abortion care is legal. As we process the vast and devastating implications of this unprecedented reversal of our liberties, know that PPRM will do everything we can to care for all who need us. Our story doesn’t end today. The Supreme Court won’t have the last word on access to abortion care. We will.”
Dr. Kristina Tocce, Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
“This is a dark day for those of us who care so deeply about access to the health care that is our human right. In this devastating moment, I’m filled with gratitude - for our patients who trust us to care for them, for all the providers I’m privileged to work alongside, and for the people who overwhelmingly support the right for each of us to determine the course of our lives. My heart is with those who need us now, and those who will need us in the future. It’s because of them that we must never give up. And we never will.”
“For more than 50 years, abortion opponents have been trying to overturn Roe v Wade and the Constitutional right to abortion. Although this ruling may be a shock to some, it is sadly not a surprise to those of us who have repeatedly fought off attacks on abortion rights here in Colorado.
“This ruling is what we predicted and what we feared. And it is why we passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act this year, guaranteeing the fundamental right to abortion access in Colorado law. This is why we announced RHEA the day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case on December 1, 2021. This is why we put in the work and the late nights with all the patients, providers, and advocates testifying to the importance of our fundamental Colorado values about reproductive health care, including abortion and contraception.
“If abortion access returns to the states, Colorado must remain a place where pregnant people can access abortion care without shame, stigma, political interference, or cost barriers. We are already increasing the funding, patient support, and overall capacity for the Cobalt Abortion Fund for both in and out of state clients.
“We currently have RHEA, but that is not enough. This year in the midterms our 175,000 members statewide will hold accountable those legislators who did not support abortion access. And in 2024, we will go to the ballot to enshrine the right to abortion in the Colorado Constitution.
“This is a sad day, but the fight isn’t over. It’s only beginning and we here in Colorado will be leading the way on abortion access, just as we did in 1967 and 1973.”
Colorado GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown
"Today is the best day. After decades of so many Americans fighting for every single life, today, the Supreme Court of the United States has finally declared that every child is worth saving and that every child must be protected. This brave decision by the Supreme Court will save countless lives and ensure that the United States is no longer listed among the likes of China and North Korea when it comes to countries with extreme abortion laws.
"I'm proud to be a member of the Pro-Life Party and the Pro-Life generation. As a mom, I know that this decision is an amazing step towards equal protection for every child. I hope this decision leads to a real conversation - between people on all sides - about how we as a country can best work together to further support our children, mothers, and families. Life is precious. I have no doubt that this is the right decision."
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of the Archdiocese of Denver
“Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
"For nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade has been a dark cloud over our country and has played a role in tens of millions of pre-born babies dying. In this life, we will never know the unrepeatable gifts they would have brought to our families, communities, and world.
"But for those same 50 years, millions of Catholics have prayed unceasingly and worked tirelessly to promote a culture of life and for an end to the evil that is abortion. God only knows the number of rosaries and other prayers that have been offered up that the dignity of life might be recognized for every child, every mother, and every family. And we know we were certainly not alone in this effort, but joined by many other faith communities and even atheists.
"So today we celebrate and praise God for this monumental decision to finally overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood! This is a remarkable moment, and I want to personally thank everyone who has fervently prayed and worked that we might see this day. Our prayers have truly been answered!
"With that said, we acknowledge that the work continues, especially here in Colorado.
"While precious lives will no doubt be saved because of this decision, in states like ours, the abortion industry and many lawmakers are increasing their efforts to promote Colorado as an “abortion destination.”
"Therefore, we must continue to lovingly speak the truth about the God-given dignity of every unique human life from conception until natural death, and we must increase our support of our archdiocesan and parish ministries that offer authentically compassionate care for women, their babies, and their families.
"We must ensure our Catholic parishes are places of welcome for women facing challenging pregnancies or who find it difficult to care for their children after birth, so that any mother needing assistance will receive life-affirming support and be connected to appropriate programs and resources where she can get help.
"And we must always show Christ’s mercy to anyone who has received or participated in an abortion, and continue to pray that those who support and promote abortion have a profound encounter with Christ’s love and a total conversion, so that abortion is truly unthinkable.
"The work ahead of us here in Colorado will continue to be challenging, but we are reminded today that “nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37)”
Will Duffy, President of Colorado Right to Life
Roe v. Wade being overturned is historic, but this is a human rights issue which means it cannot be a states' rights issue. No state has the right to deprive anyone of life, including the unborn, without due process of law. When a Supreme Court opinion is wrong, such as Roe v. Wade or the Dred Scott decision, that means states should defy those decisions. Shame on all 50 states for not defying Roe these last 49 years.
Jim Daley, President and CEO of Focus on the Family
"It was Thomas Jefferson who once observed, 'God is just' and 'His justice cannot sleep forever.'"
"After nearly a half-century and over 60 million deaths, the horrifying and tragic ruling of Roe has finally been overturned. It was a bad law then—and a majority of the Supreme Court has affirmed it is bad law now. No court has the right to deprive a child of the right to live. We celebrate this milestone today and applaud the five justices who have courageously and correctly interpreted the United States Constitution."
"This is a day to give thanks to God. It’s also a day to give thanks to the tens of millions who have marched in the show and cold on the anniversary of Roe these last fifty years as faithful witnesses to the value of human life. It’s a day, as well, to give thanks to those who have committed their lives and their resources to serving mothers and protecting innocent children."
"We remain dedicated to fostering and furthering a culture of life, which recognizes the dignity of each and every person. This should not be a political cause of only a few—but the cause of all who care and support the preservation and protection of human rights."
This story will be updated as more statements from public officials come in.