DENVER (CBS4)– Supporters of reproductive rights gathered in cities across the country to protest after a Supreme Court draft opinion striking down Roe v. Wade was leaked. While many hoped, and thought, this could never happen – some women saw it coming.
Aurea Bolaños Perea with the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) says they’ve been sounding the alarm for months.
COLOR spoke at the rally supporting abortion rights at the state Capitol Tuesday afternoon.
“We are mobilizing for a common cause; reproductive justice, freedom to make the best decision for our bodies, to expand and go beyond just abortion access,” said Bolaños Perea.
COLOR also works closely with Planned Parenthood. Many women sought care in Colorado when abortion laws changed in other states last year. Nearly half of the patients at Planned Parenthood in Denver at one point were from Texas.
Leah Payne moved from Texas to Colorado shortly after that state implemented Senate Bill 8, one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country.
“When I had my abortion, the nearest abortion clinic was four and a half hours away,” said Payne. “I am ashamed of the government. Many people who live in Texas are being silenced.”
Ending a pregnancy is hard, but Payne knows that challenge is greater for other women. Low-income and minority women stand to suffer the most with restrictions to abortion.
“We recognize that access to care is going to be restricted; by language, by transportation, by economic means. We know we don’t live single-issue lives,” said Bolaños Perea.
COLOR works to ensure Latinx and families of color have access to health care.
Colorado could become an island in a sea of states with restrictive laws, surrounded by barriers to women and reproductive care. Colorado has already become a refuge.
According to CDPHE, about 13% of abortions performed last year were for out-of-state residents.
“We’re proud to know that we are going to have our doors open,” said Bolaños Perea. “Colorado has created the blueprint. We’re going to ensure that nobody gets turned away. We also know we cannot be the only ones because that is not how community power happens.”
Payne knows many women don’t have the means to leave their restrictive states – so she’s fighting for women who don’t.
“I feel my privilege, but I’m using my privilege to stand up for those who cannot be heard. I feel that is my job in these movements,” said Payne.