Democrats in Colorado sounded the alarm over a Texas law banning most abortions that took effect Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on an emergency appeal to put the law on hold.
The law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before most women know they're pregnant. It's the most restrictive law concerning abortion enacted in the United States since the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion.
"This is an all-out assault on our reproductive rights," tweeted U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.
"So let's be very clear here. Congress MUST fight this ban and enshrine abortion access into federal law."
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said in a tweet that letting the Texas law go into effect was "a direct threat to women’s rights not only in Texas, but across the country." He added: "I will never stop fighting for reproductive justice for every single person."
Later Wednesday morning, Bennet, who is seeking a third term in next year's election, called on the Supreme Court to "issue a stay immediately" and tweeted a link to a bill he introduced earlier this year that would guarantee the right to an abortion.
"I'm fighting for the Women's Health Protection Act so all women, regardless of where they live, can access abortion care and we can enshrine access to reproductive care into law, once and for all," he said.
Colorado Republicans, including candidates challenging Bennet, indicated their support for the law.
"It's a beautiful day in Texas," tweeted Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown, who cut her political teeth promoting an unsuccessful state ballot initiative that would have banned abortion entirely.
Erik Aadland, one of three Republicans actively campaigning for Bennet's U.S. Senate seat, told Colorado Politics that he believes Texas should be able to establish its own abortion rules and wants the federal government to stay out of it.
"I support Texas’s (and that of any State’s for that matter) right to adjudicate abortion at the State level in alignment with the will of their constituency," Aadland wrote in a text message. "I want the Federal government out of the issue altogether and I am absolutely against any Federal funding of abortion."
Peter Yu, a former GOP congressional candidate who recently converted his Senate exploratory committee into a full-fledged campaign, said in an email that the Texas law "effectively banning abortion after six weeks is in line with the 10th amendment of the Constitution."
Said Yu: "As a candidate running for office at the federal level, I believe the federal government should be a government of 'limited and enumerated powers' and abortion exceeds the national government’s enumerated powers. Abortion should be handled at the state level, as this exceeds federal powers.
"Texas, according to the 10th amendment, has the full right to set its own state laws. Whether I agree or disagree with an enacted law, it falls within the Constitutional framework of our country. In addition, as a candidate running to represent Colorado, it is my priority to focus on the issues affecting the residents of Colorado, not of Texas."
El Paso County Republican Eli Bremer, a former GOP official and Olympian, said in a text message to Colorado Politics that he wasn't comfortable commenting because it wasn't clear whether the high court was simply waiting for another case that could establish a clearer precedent to reach its docket.
"Of course the Dems want to politicize it," Bremer added, referring to the court's inaction, "but this look(s) technical unless I'm missing something."
Democratic officials weren't reticent to weigh in.
State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton, a pediatrician and recently announced congressional candidate, tweeted: "Have you ever told a 14 year-old that her chronic stomach ache is actually a pregnancy? As her pediatrician, I can give her a choice in that moment — to become a mom, or not. Texas’ #SB8 sets a dangerous precedent for the futures of girls across the U.S."
"Women have a non-negotiable right to their own reproductive choices," tweeted Democratic U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, who also cited the bill he and Bennet have signed on to as co-sponsors.
"We need to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act immediately to codify Roe v Wade and ensure this right stays protected," Hickenlooper added.
Calling the law "a disturbing attack on the health of millions," U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a Centennial Democrat, said in a tweet: "We cannot allow it to stand. I stand with the overwhelming majority of Americans in calling for protection of reproductive rights."
The Associated Press contributed to this story
State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a Thornton Democrat, on Tuesday became the first candidate to announce a run in next year's election for Colorado's eighth U.S. House seat, touting her background as a pediatrician and daughter of immigrants, her Adams County roots and a record passing progressive legislation.