Colorado introduces law protecting gender-affirming healthcare and abortion access

Since becoming the first openly gay man elected as a US state governor in 2018, Jared Polis has prioritised access to safe and affordable healthcare.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a three-part series of healthcare bills on Friday which protect access gender-affirming care and abortion procedures and medications.
Image: Twitter @GovofCO

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a series of healthcare bills on Friday, April 14, which protect access to gender-affirming care, abortion procedures and necessary medications. They also outlaw “deceptive practices” used by anti-abortion centres to mislead the public into thinking their clinics are abortion providers, while they actually attempt to convince patients to keep their pregnancies.

The new legislations are a stark contrast to those of bordering Republican states like Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Utah, which have recently passed abortion bans or severely restricted essential care for trans youth. In addition to protecting Colorado residents, the new laws ensure that people living in those surrounding states can travel to Colorado to obtain abortion services, begin puberty blockers and receive gender-affirming care.

In a statement to CNN, the governor said, “I’m proud to sign these pro-freedom laws to further uphold Colorado’s value of protecting access to reproductive health care…in Colorado, we value individual freedoms and we stand up to protect them.”

Ever since Polis became the first openly gay man elected as a US state governor in 2018, he has prioritised access to safe and affordable healthcare. Last year, in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, he codified the right to abortion in Colorado, ensuring all residents would maintain access to this healthcare.



Abortion services and gender-affirming care services have been legal and practiced in the US for decades, but several states have recently barred their residents from accessing trans healthcare.

The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, which effectively eliminated federal protections for abortion rights, and the US is currently waiting on the decision of a federal court case that will determine if medication abortions and mail-order prescriptions of a crucial abortion drug will be banned.

The case focuses on whether the government can regulate the drug that is used in the majority of abortions. A decision was expected to arrive last Friday, but the US Supreme Court justices are taking more time to consider the issue.


Many Democrat-majority states like Colorado and Illinois are identifying as safe havens for their out-of-state neighbours by offering their services to people living in states that have banned essential healthcare. However, as a complication, it is unclear if residents in these neighbouring states can access these services without fear of prosecution. In many cases, Republican-controlled states that have passed abortion and trans healthcare bans are now passing additional laws which criminalise the act of traveling to other states to access healthcare.

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