Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Wednesday saying Colorado will protect people who seek abortions and those who provide them, including those in or from other states.
The order says the state won’t assist in criminal or civil actions in other states aimed at preventing women from getting access to abortion. It also instructs the Department of Regulatory Affairs to protect anyone with a Colorado professional license from discipline for providing or seeking reproductive health care in any state.
“We are taking needed action to protect and defend individual freedom and protect the privacy of Coloradans,” Polis, a Democrat running for reelection, said in a statement. “This important step will ensure that Colorado’s thriving economy and workforce are not impacted based on personal health decisions that are wrongly being criminalized in other states.”
The order comes nearly two weeks after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973.
Earlier this year, Polis signed a bill protecting reproductive health, including access to abortion and various forms of birth control, in the state.
But Wednesday’s order is a reaction to numerous states that are threatening to prosecute women who cross state lines to get an abortion, as many have done in recent months. At least six states have total bans on abortion, while others in the process of implementing bans via “trigger laws” that take effect within a specified time after court action overturning Roe.
Colorado abortion rights groups expect the state to see an influx of people seeking abortions.
Democratic lawmakers praised the governor’s action.
“I appreciate Gov. Polis’ executive order to protect patients and providers, because with abortion access now in jeopardy, or outright banned, in too many Republican-controlled states across the country, this is a crucial time in which we all must do everything that we can to defend these fundamental rights,” said state Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat.