With this week’s revelation of a U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent in Roe v. Wade, states are bracing for new legislative battles over reproductive rights. That includes House District 26 and the majority of Eagle County.
Meghan Lukens, a social studies teacher at Steamboat Springs High School, is the Democratic nominee in the Nov. 8 general election for HD26, which, after redistricting, includes most of Eagle County and all of Routt, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
“Given the recent news regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s reported move to overturn Roe v. Wade, I want to first recognize how scary and upsetting this is for American women and the future of our country,” Lukens said in an email. “I absolutely support a woman’s right to choose and make decisions for her own body. It is crucial we keep in mind that anti-abortion laws do not eliminate abortions, they eliminate safe abortions.”
The Republican frontrunner for HD26, Savannah Wolfson, is an Oak Creek mother of two who faces a June 28 primary against Glenn Lowe of Eagle. Wolfson earned 66% of the delegate votes at last month’s GOP state assembly to 34% for Lowe.
“Colorado is one of the most extreme places in the world in regards to abortion, outpacing Europe by far, and it is unlikely that this will change as a result of this election,” Wolfson said by email. “We can have a baby born, surviving life outside of the womb easily, and a healthy baby the same age down the hall being aborted. The fall of Roe would only mean that the voters decide, and Colorado voters consistently uphold abortion. I will start by upholding religious liberty, advocating that our tax money not be used for this extreme practice, and that healthcare providers not be forced to participate in these procedures.”
The legislative starting point Wolfson listed above of “upholding religious liberty,” differs from the one she recently shared online with fellow members of the Eagle County Grassroots Conservatives.
“I know Colorado will keep abortion legal for a long time,” wrote Wolfson. “But I want to start by introducing legislation to require burial for aborted children, to make a point. …I want to start with requiring burial of aborted children in Colorado, in recognition of their humanity.”
Lowe did not respond to an email request for comment for this story.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis last month signed into law the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which was passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature this session on party lines.
Democratic state Rep. Dylan Roberts of Avon, the current representative of HD26 who is running for state Senate District 8, voted in favor of the bill, which puts a woman’s right to choose into state statute.
Now there’s a push for a state constitutional amendment, which would be harder for future legislatures or governors to overturn.
“The right for women to make decisions regarding their own bodies should be protected at the federal level, but seeing as the Supreme Court is dismantling this fundamental right, the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act was absolutely necessary to protect abortion access,” Lukens said of the recently passed state law.
“We must ensure that abortion access has the highest level of protection at the state level. As we have seen in states across the South and Midwest, where abortion access has been continually rolled back by anti-choice lawmakers — even with Roe v. Wade intact — it’s imperative to have state level protections for this fundamental right,” Lukens added. “Voters should have the chance to codify the protections of the Reproductive Health Equity Act in the Colorado Constitution.”
Wolfson did not say if she would actively work to overturn the Reproductive Health Equity Act, but did stress the need to curtail the number of abortions being performed in the state.
“This is a complicated issue, and we must all strive to support and love both the mother and her child. One thing we all used to agree on was that we wanted to reduce the amount of abortions performed,” Wolfson said. “To accomplish this, pro-lifers lead the way in preventing unwanted pregnancies, advocating for adoption, foster care reform, and donating to charity. My message for mothers in crisis is, you can do it. Welcome to the sisterhood of being a mother.”
Wolfson went on to discuss her own experience with childbirth.
“Women do hard things to protect our children, and we are here to help each other. I had difficult pregnancies with health complications, and depended on others during that season,” Wolfson added. “The abortion industry preaches disempowerment. Their message is, ‘You can’t be a mother and succeed, and no one will help you.’ A study of almost 1,000 women who had abortions found that the majority of them felt coerced in some way. Even those who are pro-choice say it should be the mother’s choice, and no one else’s, so I hope we can agree that coercion is wrong.”