No, this Colorado law does not allow abortions “up to the time of birth.”
As state lawmakers in Oklahoma and Texas push to limit abortion access, Colorado this week became the youngest state to guarantee abortion rights. However, social media posts have misinterpreted what the state’s new law will do.
On April 4th, when Colorado’s measure went into effect, anti-abortion activist Lila Rose became tweeted“BREAKING: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis just signed legislation legalizing abortions for every nine months up to the point of birth.” A screenshot of her tweet was shared a day later by Republican Ben Carson, who said during the Trump -Administration served as Minister for Housing and Urban Development, shared on Facebook.
This post has been flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat hoaxes and misinformation in its news feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The Reproductive Health Equity Act, which Polis signed into law this week, affirms a person’s right to birth control and an abortion. It states that a government agency “shall not deny, limit, impair or discriminate against a person’s fundamental right to use or refuse contraception or to continue pregnancy and childbirth or to have an abortion”.
These reproductive health protections already existed in Colorado, but are now codified in state law. This means that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Roe v. Wade, access to contraception and an abortion remain protected in Colorado. The new law also protects against attempts by local governments to restrict access to abortion.
Colorado law protects the right to an abortion and makes no provision or regulation at any time or stage during pregnancy.
Roe v. Wade prohibited states from banning women from pre-viability abortion, a standard that was defined in a later Supreme Court decision to mean that “in the judgment of the attending physician on the particular facts of the case before him, there is a reasonable probability of a lasting.” Survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial support.”
While viability is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on a variety of factors, including gestational age and fetal weight, a baby just born — or “moments before birth” — is unlikely to meet the standard below where abortion is legal.
Most abortions occur early in a person’s pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019 nearly 93% of abortions occurred at or before 13 weeks gestation. About 6% occur between the 14th and 20th week of pregnancy.
Abortions performed later in a pregnancy are rare; less than 1% occur at 21 weeks gestation or later, according to the CDC. Abortions around 21 weeks are often difficult to obtain because the procedure is costly, time-sensitive and only performed by a small subset of abortion providers.
A screenshot of a tweet shared on Facebook claimed, “Colorado Gov. Jared Polis just signed legislation legalizing abortions for every nine months up to the moment of birth.”
Colorado’s new law codifies existing protections around a person’s right to use or refuse contraception, continue a pregnancy and give birth, or have an abortion.
Abortions that occur later in a pregnancy—at 21 weeks gestation or later—are rare.
We consider this claim to be false.