The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday morning overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, concluding the U.S. Constitution "does not confer a right to abortion." Here are five takeaways from the ruling.

Luige del Puerto and Marianne Goodland react to Friday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling that will reverse Roe v Wade, thus likely ending abortion rights and access to women in many states. How will this affect future legislative efforts in Colorado?

First, the decision removes the longstanding federal framework that governed the parameters of abortion and instead gives the states the ability to define the contours of their abortion statutes. In the opinion, the majority of justices said the authority to regulate abortion is "returned to the people and their elected representatives." For Colorado, this means a more permissive abortion law, which Gov. Jared Polis signed in April, affirms the right to an abortion. Colorado's Reproductive Health Equity Act recognizes a fundamental right to continue a pregnancy and give birth, or to have an abortion. Fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses do not have independent rights under the law, and it prohibits state and local public entities from denying or restricting a person's right to use or refuse contraception, or to either continue a pregnancy or have an abortion.

Second, the decision surprised no one – in Colorado or elsewhere in the country. A leaked draft of the opinion showed a majority of justices were poised to overturn Roe. Even before the leak, Colorado's ruling majority anticipated that the more conservative court would end the landmark ruling that guaranteed women's ability to obtain an abortion and successfully pushed for the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which enshrined abortion rights in the Colorado statutes. 

Third, Colorado's more permissive abortion environment will likely attract women from states with more restrictive abortion laws. A local Planned Parenthood official earlier said Roe's demise renders Colorado "an island in the middle of an abortion desert." According to CNN, 13 states — including nearby North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Texas and Wyoming — already passed laws that would automatically ban nearly all abortions should Roe be overturned. Kansas and New Mexico both offer abortion access, but those states have fewer clinics than Colorado. According to NPR, Colorado has about 20 clinics, while New Mexico and Kansas have about five each.

Fourth, the abortion debate will ramp up in Colorado in the coming months, but the chances of an abortion measure in November's ballot are slim. Jeff Hunt, who serves as director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University and is among the most visible voices on the abortion debate, said many in the community opposed to abortion do not support a proposed measure – Initiative 56 – that would define "murder of a child" and ban abortion, save in a few narrow cases, arguing it offers no legal carve out for women who get an abortion. 

Fifth, a big battle over Colorado's abortion law is coming – likely in 2024. Anti-abortion activists are considering a ballot measure similar to a proposal in 2020 that asked voters to ban abortion after 22 weeks of gestation, except when it is required to save the life of the mother. Abortion-rights activities are also eyeing a measure to enshrine abortion rights in the Colorado Constitution.   

Reporter Seth Klamann contributed in this report. 

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