Roe has been overturned. What’s next for Steamboat?
The United States Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, revoking the constitutional basis for a right to abortion. Abortion bans are expected to take shape in roughly half the states.
Colorado, which codified the right to abortion with the Reproductive Health Equity Act in April, will not see changes to its reproductive care policies as a result of the court’s decision. But there may be an influx of patients from nearby states — such as Wyoming, Utah and Texas — which have “trigger laws” to quickly outlaw abortion.
When a draft of the decision repealing Roe was originally leaked in May, an employee of Planned Parenthood in Steamboat told the Pilot & Today that overturning Roe v. Wade would likely cause an influx of abortion patients.
“Somewhere around 50% of our abortion patients are from Texas,” said Terra, who asked that her last name not be used. “So that means people who are trying to access an abortion who are in the state of Colorado are now competing with appointments from out of state.”
Now that the controversial decision has officially come down, it has elicited emotional reactions from the Steamboat community.
Around noon Friday, just hours after the Supreme Court released the Dobbs v. Jackson’s decision, nine people held rosaries and a banner that read “4 Life! Protect it,” as they stood in front of a locked Planned Parenthood location downtown. They stood shoulder to shoulder praying.
Carol, who also asked her last name not be used, explained that she has been protesting against abortion for decades.
“I was really happy to hear this,” she said. “It turns it back to the states to decide.”
Mary, another anti-abortion protestor, was also pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision.
“I believe that what they decided 50 years ago was a terrible mistake,” Mary said. “But it’s only been 50 years — a very short period of time.”
Two nearby business owners looked at the scene from down the street, disapproval and disappointment clear on their faces. They explained that the group regularly comes to Planned Parenthood and their presence on the day Roe was overturned was “salt in the wound.”
“I’m already quivering and shaking because of what happened this morning,” one owner said.
“Women have a right to their body,” she added. “To say otherwise is insane.”
Yampa Valley Pride posted on social media that “all protesters in favor of the right to safe and legal abortions are welcome” at a rally, which will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 25, on the courthouse lawn.
The Women’s March on Steamboat will be supporting this protest, coming just over a month after the group’s last march for reproductive choice on May 15.
“The ability to decide when to have a child is necessary for not only the parent’s physical, financial, and emotional health, but also that of their children and families,” read a statement from Better Tomorrow, parent organization for Advocates of Routt County and the Brighter World Child Advocacy Center.
“The freedom to make one’s own reproductive decisions is a fundamental right and inextricably linked with our collective mission of empowering people,” the statement continued.
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, tweeted her support of the Supreme Court decision, while Colorado’s 2nd District representative, Democrat Joe Neguse, decried it.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade is deeply disappointing,” Neguse said in a statement. “The ruling, which departs from nearly 50 years of legal precedent, will deprive countless women across the country of the freedom to make deeply personal reproductive health decisions.”
As abortion will remain legal in Colorado, Steamboat and other cities with abortion providers will be bracing for increasing numbers of out of state patients.
In 2021, about 13.6% of Colorado abortions were for out-of-state patients, according to data from the Colorado Department for Public Health and Environment. This is up from 10.6% in 2019.
The two most common states patients came from were Wyoming and Texas. Steamboat Planned Parenthood and other providers can expect more to come from those states than ever before, in addition to states like Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho.
To reach Katy Pickens, call 970-871-4208 or email her at kpickens@SteamboatPilot.com
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