• June 21st, 2024
  • Friday, 09:28:51 PM

Latinas Are Leading the Fight to Protect Abortion Access in Colorado


 

Dusti Gurule

 

As we brace for a decision from the Supreme Court which will likely upend Roe v. Wade and reduce abortion access for half the country, some states are passing copycat bills like the 6-week Texas abortion ban. As a seventh generation Coloradan whose family has deep roots in organizing for justice, I’m not waiting another moment to ensure that Coloradans can access safe and legal abortion care.

 

This is why my colleagues and I championed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) which Governor Polis signed into law on April 4. In the face of increasing attacks, Colorado has made it clear that the right to an abortion is protected in our state. This historic law will directly impact Latinx and other communities of color who too often do not have access to these vital services due to systemic barriers.

 

This moment demands that we become reproductive justice champions and work together so that generations to come have a better future –– one with true freedom, liberty, and justice for all.

 

In my work at the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity & Reproductive Rights (COLOR), we see firsthand how restrictions on abortion disproportionately harm our people statewide. Latino/a communities in Colorado know the importance of protecting our fundamental right to bodily autonomy and our futures. Last year, COLOR led the first annual Colorado Latino Policy Agenda, which provides insight into the most pressing issues for our communities. We polled over 1,000 Latinos and surveyed over 160 leaders from across the state. 66% of respondents and 85% of leaders support passing laws to protect access to safe abortions and reproductive rights for all Coloradans.

 

Protecting the legality of abortion is necessary, however, it alone has never been enough. It may surprise some to learn that many people are already living in a post-Roe reality – care is out of reach because of restrictions like insurance coverage bans or lack of providers. The research shows us that depriving people of access to care creates undue financial, health, and family hardship. When people are denied the ability to make decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy the ripple effects are felt for entire generations.

 

This is precisely why, in the face of the most critical moment for abortion access in half a century,we’re working to make sure that people can live with the dignity and respect of making their own decisions about abortion and having the ability to access that care – decisions we know, unequivocally, that are valued in our state.

 

In 2020, more Coloradans voted against Proposition 115 –– a ban on abortion later in pregnancy –– than voted in Presidential or US Senate races. What’s more, we voted across party and county lines. In 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014, Coloradans overwhelmingly rejected harmful and dehumanizing amendments to the state Constitution attempting to create “fetal personhood” and outlaw abortion. The message sent by voters remains clear: We trust individuals to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions free from political interference.

 

However, despite our resistance, 41 pieces of legislation have been introduced since 2010 that would restrict or eliminate abortion access for Coloradans, proving just how out of touch extremist leaders are with voters. Deciding when or if, and how, to become a parent is one of the most important decisions a person can make in our lives, but it is one that belongs to each individual –– not politicians.

 

RHEA is the key to a brighter future for Coloradans. It will act as a barrier against further attacks on our fundamental right to self-determination. Through sheer people power and determination, we will continue putting our communities first and empowering them with the resources they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

 

As one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country, we can continue to build power in not just numbers, but through educating ourselves and advocating for the future of our families and communities. This moment demands that we become reproductive justice champions and work together so that generations to come have a better future –– one with true freedom, liberty, and justice for all.

 

 

Dusti Gurule is the President and CEO of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights.

 

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