CNA sought comment from CARE but did not receive a response by publication.
The proposed Pueblo ordinance comes after a strong pro-abortion advocacy campaign in Colorado anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, ending Roe v. Wade and returning abortion law to the states.
Earlier this year, the Colorado Legislature passed the strongly pro-abortion Reproductive Health Equity Act, which explicitly denies any legal rights to unborn children.
Vessely characterized the law as “abhorrent.” She told CNA it “removes all limits in favor of gruesome abortion on demand for the full 40 weeks.”
Maestri told CNA she was concerned about Colorado’s lack of abortion regulation, including its permission for non-doctors to perform an abortion under a licensed doctor. Another concern is that Carhart’s clinic is far from the nearest hospital emergency room that could accept a patient in case of complications.
“What’s important about this proposed ordinance is that it stops abortion clinics from coming in and setting up in Pueblo,” she said. The ordinance is “the only thing that we can put in place in order to stop the abortion clinics from coming to town until we feel that they’re properly regulated. It’s about women’s safety at this point.”
“The state of Colorado has been very negligent in legalizing abortion,” she said.
However, the proposed ordinance has its critics. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat who campaigned on a pro-abortion-rights position, is “committed to defending the Reproductive Health Equity Act and challenging any local ordinance that violates the law,” according to his director of communications, Lawrence Pacheco.
Sara Neel, a senior staff attorney for the Colorado ACLU, which backs abortion, said the Comstock laws the proposal cites are interpreted to apply only to unlawful items.
“Since abortion is lawful, and drugs have been approved by the FDA and even approved for mailing in the United States … I think their reliance on the Comstock laws is misplaced at the current time,” she said, according to the Pueblo Chieftain.
The city’s legal department has recommended the city council not adopt the ordinance.
(Story continues below)
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In Vessely’s view, the proposed ordinance is in line with Coloradan and American legal traditions.
“Pueblo is saying, ‘not in our city!’ which is a commendable act of federalism, intended by the founders of our country and state,” she said. “Late-term abortionists like Leroy Carhart, who acknowledge the humanity of the babies they murder in the womb and have caused the deaths of many women, have no place in Pueblo or in Colorado.”