ACLJ Submits 101 Records Demand Letters to Colorado State Legislature Over Dangerous New Law That Makes Abortion a Super-"Fundamental Right"

By 

John Monaghan

|
April 28

5 min read

Pro Life

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We just filed 101 records demands under state sunshine laws over a bill just signed into law in Colorado that would effectively make Roe v. Wade permanent in the state, even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe.

As we have previously explained:

We’ve been informing you that innocent human life is increasingly under attack in pro-abortion states. Colorado is one such state. On April 4, 2022, Governor Polis signed into law a bill that makes abortion a super-“fundamental right” in Colorado. Prior to Governor Polis signing the bill, the ACLJ sent a letter to the Governor opposing the radical pro-abortion bill and requesting his veto. We also detailed how the bill could severely impact the constitutional rights and freedoms of Colorado citizens. Despite vehement opposition to the bill on the part of the ACLJ, pro-life legislators, and other pro-life organizations, it is unsurprising that Governor Polis ignored the opposition and signed the bill.

As we told you at the time, we were prepared to fight back, and we have just taken the first steps to do so.

The ACLJ has filed records demands under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) to get to the bottom of how a statute called “Concerning the Codification of a Person’s Fundamental Right to make reproductive Healthcare decisions free from government interference” passed in Colorado, who was behind the effort, and if they received any legal analyses about the bill before voting on it.

CORA permits requests to be filed with the state legislature. The Colorado state legislature has 35 State Senators and 65 State Representatives.  We have filed a request with each State Senator and each State Representative, plus the Governor.

The Colorado Legislature’s policies on requests for information require a duplicate filing with the Director of the Office of Legislative Legal Services.  This means that for each request, we had to file the same request in two different places, in order to, hopefully, get one answer (except the Governor, who we only had to file one request with). The grand total was 201 requests to see the records of 101 state officials.

Our CORA records demand letter reads:

The ACLJ requests copies of the following records be provided via email:

1.         All records prepared, generated, forwarded, transmitted, sent, shared, saved, received, or reviewed by you or your staff that are or concern in any way communications with any person or organization advocating for the statute titled, “Concerning the codification of a person’s fundamental right to make reproductive Health-care decisions free from government Interference,” 2022 Colo. ALS 67, 2022 Colo. Ch. 67, 2022 Colo. HB. 1279.

2.         All final records prepared, assembled or received by you or your staff that are comparisons of existing law, compilations of existing … public information, statistics or data, and compilations or explanations of general areas or bodies of law, legislative history or legislative policy concerning the statute referenced in request #1 above.

3.         All records prepared or generated, by you or your staff regarding the statute referenced in request #1 above.

When we get documents answering these questions, we will keep you updated.  But let’s look at this statute.  It has two parts.  One is about rights generally and the second is about abortion and public entities.

Its intentions are clear.  It says: “A PREGNANT INDIVIDUAL HAS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO CONTINUE A PREGNANCY AND GIVE BIRTH OR TO HAVE AN ABORTION AND TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT HOW TO EXERCISE THAT RIGHT.” (The capitalization is from the original bill because apparently if the legislature yells something loud enough, then it comes true, but underlining added for emphasis.)

Sarcasm aside, this bill is not about pregnancy or birth; that first phrase is just window-dressing camouflage to hide the Left’s true intent – to make abortion on demand a super-“fundamental right.”

The statute continues: “A FERTILIZED EGG, EMBRYO, OR FETUS DOES NOT HAVE INDEPENDENT OR DERIVATIVE RIGHTS UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS STATE.”

So an abortion may happen until the moment of birth, even past the moment of breach, because a half-born baby has no rights of any kind.

Not content with taking away an unborn infant’s rights, the statute takes away the conscience rights of healthcare professionals who work in “public entities.”

Section 25-6-404 says that a public entity, i.e. hospitals, clinics and even municipalities, shall not “deny, restrict, interfere with, or discriminate against an individual’s fundamental right . . . to have an abortion in the . . . facilities, services . . . .”

The provision makes no exception for the nurse or doctor who objects to performing an abortion on any grounds, including religious grounds.  It does not permit a public hospital to refuse to perform an abortion.  It even bans a city or county from refusing to cover abortion under their insurance plan (failure to cover would be to “discriminate against”).

In short, the statute is a very dangerous law that tramples upon our constitutional rights of freedom of conscience and the right to life of the unborn.

We will continue to fight to expose what is behind these laws, including if these legislators were aware of the constitutional implications it has for conscience rights. As we said previously, “If you live in Colorado, and you – especially healthcare workers – face pressure to perform, participate in, or refer for abortions, let us know at ACLJ.org/HELP.”