Colorado abortion laws are generally less restrictive than most of its neighboring states. People on both sides of the issue agree Colorado’s laws are more restrictive than New Mexico’s but less restrictive than those in Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Oklahoma and Arizona. Some disagreement exists over whether the Centennial State’s reproductive rights laws are more or less restrictive than those of Wyoming.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 issued the Roe v. Wade decision giving women nationwide the right to an abortion while leaving state lawmakers to decide how strictly they want to regulate the procedure. Colorado legislators have since amended the state’s laws in a manner that left it ranked as the nation’s 22nd best state for reproductive rights in 2013 by NARAL Pro-Choice America
. Among Colorado’s neighbors, NARAL’s website placed New Mexico at 11th best, Wyoming 23rd, Arizona 26th, Oklahoma 36th, Utah 43rd, Nebraska 44th and Kansas 46th.
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The pro-life group Americans United for Life, in a report
released in January on its website, listed Colorado as being the nation’s 29th most-protective state in terms of enacting pro-life legislation. Among Colorado’s neighbors, the report listed Kansas as third most protective, Oklahoma fourth, Arizona 12th, Utah 28th, Wyoming 37th and New Mexico 40th.
Differences in abortion laws between Colorado and its neighboring states include issues of parental notification and partial-birth abortions.
Colorado requires parental notification but not parental consent for a minor to have an abortion, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute
. New Mexico doesn’t require parental notification or consent, as a law passed in that state requiring consent from a parent has been “permanently enjoined by court order,” Guttmacher said. Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming require notification and consent from a parent, Arizona requires consent from a parent, and Kansas requires consent from both parents.
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Partial birth abortions remain legal in Colorado and Wyoming but have been banned in Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Oklahoma, according to Guttmacher. The Oklahoma ban – because of the broad nature of its language – remains unchallenged but is presumably unenforceable under a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Nebraska ban.
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