By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) — Crowds surrounded the Colorado State Capitol on Tuesday, following a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating the court could overturn Roe v. Wade.

At the same time, facilities that provide abortions in our state are preparing to open their doors for an influx in patients.

“The most empowering thing a person can have, is the ability to decide,” said Confidence Omenai. She is a board member of the Colorado Doula Project, a grassroots nonprofit that advocates for abortion rights.

“We provide abortion access for all – medical abortions, transportation to a procedure, lodging while you’re in Colorado, expense for procedure.”

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Omenai says the majority of clients who utilize those services are women of color. For that reason, among others, the Colorado Doula Project’s mission is deeply personal for her.

“I was 14 years old when I went to a party, and a drank a beer that was already opened. I was drugged and I was raped,” she shared with CBS4’s Mekialaya White. “I found out later that I was pregnant by a rapist.”

She says she sought out to have an abortion, which was prohibited in her state of residence.

“In the state of Oklahoma, I was 17 weeks, so in 1993 they would not allow me to have an abortion at that stage. I had to be taken to a clinic in Overland Park, Kansas. There was no abortion doula. There was no aftercare. No one told me what my body would go through, there was nothing to prepare me for the wake of what happens. It was something I desperately needed.”

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Just last month, Governor Jared Polis signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law.  The recent move is significant, as states all around Colorado have “trigger laws” in place. Under those laws, abortion will almost immediately be banned if Roe v. Wade is no longer in effect. That could make Colorado an island for reproductive rights, meaning an increase in people coming here to receive services.

Omenai says organizations like hers will be prepared.

“We are holding the line. For every state that says no, we are holding the line. Roe v Wade may fall, but we will not,” she said.

Other clinics across the Denver metro area and Boulder are also prepared for an increase in patients. Susan Connelly, President of the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, issued the following statement to White:

“BVWHC was founded in 1973 as the first abortion clinic in Colorado following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that declared a constitutional right to privacy that included a woman’s right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or seek an abortion.

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For almost 50 years, BVWHC has served women in Colorado making that choice for themselves and their families. In recent months, we have started to serve women from other states – Texas and Oklahoma, so far – traveling to Colorado as a safe haven for their reproductive health care needs that they can no longer safely access at home. We fully expect to see an increase in the numbers of out of state women seeking abortions in Colorado.

BVWHC provides the broad range of reproductive and sexual health care, including abortion, on a sliding scale fee to maximize access for all women, regardless of their circumstances, and in a confidential, compassionate, professional and warm environment. As a nonprofit organization, we are supported in significant part by donations from individuals who value the right to choose and want to ensure that right for women who need it.

“Abortion is health care, just like all the other aspects of gynecological health and family planning. The right to decide the outcome of an unintended pregnancy should always rest with the pregnant person – they know their own circumstances better than policymakers or medical providers.”

Mekialaya White