January 30, 2023

Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling Roe v. calf Decision that decriminalized abortion nationwide.

Last year roe was overturned by the judgment of the court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, meaning access to abortion is now regulated at the state level, creating difficulties for patients and abortion providers who are forced to navigate a patchwork landscape of state laws and regulations. With last year’s Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), Colorado legalized abortion and legislated access to abortion, but other states like Oklahoma and Texas have enacted strict bans on abortion, forcing patients to turn to states like Colorado for treatment. Despite Colorado’s far-reaching abortion protections and Democratic dominance in the state government, activists on both sides of the abortion issue see the need for continued advocacy.

March for abolition
About 50 people gathered across the street from Denver’s Planned Parenthood Saturday morning for the Colorado Right to Life (CRTL) “March for Abolition.” CRTL President Will Duffy spoke from a flatbed trailer adorned with signs bearing gruesome images, African slaves and references to “child sacrifice.” CRTL advocates a total ban on abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

“Let’s never forget that abortion is the willful killing of an innocent little boy or girl,” Duffy said. “That’s also called murder. Abortion is murder.”

CRTL President Will Duffy.

Nearly 15 minutes into his speech, after comparing abortion to the Holocaust and accusing Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson of child molestation, Duffy was interrupted by a contingent of Denver Communist protesters, who chanted, blew whistles and carried a large banner reading “Defend abortion, believe survivors.” The communists’ noisy demo had the desired effect. Duffy’s speech was cut, and instead of marching and waving signs on Quebec Street, the assembled anti-abortionists mingled with the communists and discussed abortion, Christianity and capitalism, among other things, for the next hour and a half.

Enyart (blue hat) dialogues with Radek (pink megaphone).

“It was very interesting to see these guys walking around with whistles and megaphones,” said Dominic Enyart, a spokesman for CRTL. “Whenever someone tries to start a dialogue – like I was just trying to talk to some people over there and they blew whistles in my ears and wouldn’t let anyone get a word in. It’s really interesting that people seem to be afraid of conflicting ideas, and that’s what you do when you’re wrong about something, by screaming, ‘Shut up. I don’t want to hear what you have to say.” It seems some of these guys are doing that while the pro-lifers here are just trying to have a civil discourse.”

Part of CRTL’s civic discourse includes the use of ladders and megaphones on the sidewalk outside of Planned Parenthood to bypass the privacy fence that attempts to protect Planned Parenthood’s patients and providers.

marking on the ladder.

“We won’t waste time,” said Mark, who got into a fight with some communists about his use of the ladder. “It’s a position of ignorance if you think otherwise. The debate is really about how we value human life, how we value all human life. We simply value all human life from conception. Most of us are Christians, and so Jesus says that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. We include the unborn child as our neighbor because it is human. On this basis we value all human life. You are all created in God’s image, so every person is made in God’s image, and we are called to love everyone as best we can as ourselves. That’s why today we’re trying to reach women, to convince them not to kill their children. … We put up the ladders so we can actually communicate with the women from their car to the door. We have very little time but it allows us to communicate with them.”

For Monica Hughes, the Pueblo organizer for abortion advocacy group Cobalt, this type of behavior has negative repercussions for both abortion patients and providers.

“We had Planned Parenthood here in Pueblo that closed while I was still in high school,” she said. “They didn’t do abortions there, but they did STI screening, basic health care. They were executed by the [anti-abortion activists] in this city. So we no longer have Planned Parenthood. Stigma kills and they harass people outside of an abortion clinic and peek over to invade people’s privacy. It’s not safe, and it doesn’t help people access the healthcare they need. They’re very divisive, they’re very disruptive, but we’ll keep fighting for good.”

James Radek, an organizer for the Denver Communists, explained their tactics. “The goal is not to argue with these backward people, but to build our own strength and to show other people who might agree with us that there are people out there who share their beliefs and share their desire to confront the far right .” he said. “These are the radical fringe groups. They don’t believe in abortion, not even in cases of rape and incest, but yes, we do. We do not believe that any of our problems can be dealt with exclusively in the legislature – or in the legislature very often. The Democrats and Planned Parenthood themselves have adopted and advocated a strategy of non-confrontation, just focusing on choosing the right people and lobbying and the like. That’s what got roe overturned, that kind of non-confrontational strategy, so yeah, we oppose that.”

State and national Republicans continue to campaign to ban and/or restrict access to abortion. “I firmly believe that most Colorado residents do not support post-trimester abortion, but that’s the agenda they want to put forward,” said newly elected Rep. Brandi Bradley (R-Littleton), who has an emotional anti- Abortion Speech delivered at the Capitol on Friday in honor of the March For Life anti-abortion rally.

In Washington DC, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) introduced legislation on Friday that would ban federal taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood, diverting $235 million to community health centers, according to a press release.

“The largest abortion provider in the country has nothing to do with receiving taxpayer money,” Boebert said in the press release. “Planned Parenthood claims these funds are used for women’s health care, but over the past year, Planned Parenthood performed a record number of abortions while reducing the number of healthy women screening and breast cancer screenings it performed. Rather than funding Planned Parenthood, my bill will redirect that funding to community health centers that actually serve the health needs of women across the country.”

Outgoing Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown described Boebert’s legislation during a guest-hosting segment as “a consistent effort by people who believe the country’s largest abortion giant shouldn’t be getting taxpayer money to lie to women and abort children.” . for the Dan Caplis show on Friday. Boebert, an outspoken anti-abortion advocate, introduced legislation last month to ban abortions for immigrants.

greater than roe
On Sunday, pro-abortion advocates Cobalt and Pueblo Pro-Choice organized the Greater Than roe March.” About 75 abortion activists carried signs and sang chants through downtown Pueblo before attending an after-party and fundraiser at the Blo Back Gallery.

“Today is the National Women’s March,” Hughes explained. “There is a movement across the country to bring people together, to rally, to celebrate women and women’s progress, but also to prove that this would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v Wade had it not been overturned would. Our movement is so much more than that. It’s not just about abortion rights, and it’s not just about empowering women. Our movement has so much to offer and we’re growing and we’re getting bigger and we’re here to show people that it’s an issue for everyone, not just a women’s issue.”

With the Dobbs decision, Cobalt’s abortion fund has faced unprecedented demand, with funding for procedures and the number of clients significantly increasing in 2022 compared to 2021.

“Bigger than roe” March.

For Pueblo Pro-Choice organizers, Sunday’s event was also a celebration of the defeat of a recently proposed municipal anti-abortion ordinance. “There are no restrictions here in Colorado, but recently a councilwoman here in Pueblo came and implemented an ordinance that was presented to her by the anti-choice community,” explained Sydney Haney of Pueblo Pro-Choice. “It would have – to be clear – restricted access to tools. It would have made it really difficult for the hospitals, any clinic, anyone that provides reproductive health care to access the tools that they needed if someone wanted to continue a pregnancy or terminate a pregnancy. We found out about it and that’s when we saw this group really thrive. Yes, Colorado and Pueblo are obviously a pro-choice state, so we really didn’t want to see that. Our event today is just a kind of party for us. It’s for them to get the councilors to shut it down.”

Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar, who opposed the proposed measure, attended the march. “I’m a huge supporter of women’s reproductive health,” he said. Given what was happening in the city, I thought it was important to be here. … I have previously told the city council, as well as the city attorney, that there is nothing the city can do about it trying to keep it [the CARE Clinic] from opening. They just needed a business license. The zoning for this clinic was correct, so no rezoning or anything like that had to be done. But obviously it got into a partisan situation where people wanted to push that agenda, whether it’s legal or not.”

Senator Nick Hinrichsen (D-Pueblo) also attended the march. “I think it’s an important community event,” he said. “It should have been the 50th anniversary of a landmark human rights decision in America. As a bitter result of what happened last summer, I think it is important to show solidarity and to show that the attitude of the people is not flinching, even if the attitude of the court is.”

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