NOTE: I’ve written about how to get an abortion in Mesa County on this blog before, most recently in 2020, but the landscape of this question keeps changing. Some options disappear while others grow, and with potential changes looming on the national political front, I revisit the topic and will continue to update it periodically.
In light of the recently leaked Supreme Court draft ruling indicating that the right-wing majority of the United States Supreme Court is likely to formally overturn next month Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that abortion was legal in the United States, it’s safe to revisit the issue of abortion in Colorado, and specifically how to get one in Grand Junction and on the western side.
First of all, there is no reason to fear that you will ever lose the right to have an abortion in Colorado. Abortion will remain legal and accessible in Colorado no matter what the Supreme Court does.
Thanks to swift action by the Democratic majority in the state legislature, abortion rights in Colorado were enshrined in state law this year. Governor Polis signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (pdf) on April 4, 2022. The law ensures that all Coloradans will retain the fundamental right to make their own reproductive health decisions without government interference. The bill is only 5 pages and you can read it here (pdf).
Thank you, Democrats!
Now, how to get an abortion in Mesa County – and don’t be fooled by the “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”:
Despite the new law, conservative Republicans firmly retain political control of Mesa County. As a result, one has to dig a little deeper to find abortion services here. Local obstetrics/gynecology practices do not list abortion on their websites and may not even offer abortion services. And beware of fake “pregnancy crisis centers” which are actually Christian ministries that promise free services like pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and “counseling” but do not offer birth control or pregnancy termination options. The real mission of these “pregnancy centers” is to shame and make women feel guilty for having abortions, so they omit key information and do not give truthful information about abortions or access to abortion in our region. Instead, they traffic in grisly, scary, and exaggerated depictions of abortion procedures. The KeepAbortionSafe.org website provides a map of Colorado that shows which pregnancy clinics in the state are “real” and which are fake religious “pregnancy centers” that withhold complete and correct information from clients.
Despite these continued attempts to deceive women, changes in recent years have actually made access to abortion safer and easier in our region, with many options:
FDA approved getting abortion drugs by mail
There are two types of abortions: medical and surgical. Medical abortions involve taking pills and can be performed in the privacy of your own home. Surgical abortions are performed in a clinic.
On December 16, 2021, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permanently lifted restrictions on access to abortion drugs by mail, making these drugs much more easily and widely available. Medical abortion has been used safely and effectively around the world since 1981. When the drug was first approved by the FDA in 2000, it was known as “RU486”. Medical abortions can be used up to 10-11 weeks of pregnancy. The new FDA rule allows people to get abortion pills by mail instead of having to come to a clinic in person to get them. The pills are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain through a number of organizations that offer telemedicine appointments.
The number of medical abortions in the United States has also increased steadily over the years. Planned Parenthood estimates that medical abortions accounted for 43% of all pregnancy terminations in 2014, up from 35% in 2010.
There is also now a National Abortion Fund Network that helps overcome the financial and logistical barriers people often face when trying to get an abortion:
— The Cobalt Abortion Fund in Colorado is part of this nationwide network of abortion funds that have been formed across the United States in recent years to support people in need of abortions who have financial and logistical barriers to get them. These funds help find the type of care you need, travel, accommodation, childcare, and even meal delivery if needed. Abortion funds like Cobalt are funded by donations. They partner with abortion clinics which are often the channels through which funds are distributed. Cobalt provides direct financial assistance to women wishing to have an abortion and helps people find appropriate care in or near their area.
Cobalt is committed to removing all barriers to obtaining an abortion. They provide services to everyone, regardless of age, religion, marital status, physical ability, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or postal code. It is the only independent fund of its kind in Colorado, and its mission is to ensure that no one experiences financial burden related to abortion. Donations to Cobalt are 100% tax deductible, and 100% of funds raised for the Cobalt Abortion Fund go to help women in need. To donate to the Cobalt Abortion Fund, click here.
– HeyJane.co – partners with the Colbalt Abortion Fund to provide safe and effective abortion pills delivered by mail to Colorado. HeyJane also offers consultations with certified medical providers via chat or video for people up to 10 weeks pregnant. They advertise comprehensive medical abortion care for $249, “less than half the average clinic price.”
– AbortionOnDemand.org offers online physician-assisted medical abortion using telemedicine and next day medication shipping, cost ranges from $239-289 via online payment;
– Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Glenwood Springs, (970) 945-8631, offers surgical abortions as well as medical abortion services via telemedicine. Surgical abortions can be performed after 12 weeks of pregnancy. PPRM also has offices in Steamboat Springs (970) 879-2212) and Durango (970) 259-4205.
– Colorado Mountain Medical in Avon performs surgical abortions and reminds people that a pregnancy can be safely terminated at any time in Colorado. They also have clinics in Dillon, Frisco, Vail, Edwards, and Eagle, Colorado.
— Another choice for medical abortion is MyChoix.co, which provides reproductive and sexual health care in California, Colorado and Illinois. The cost is $289, which includes the initial consultation fee, medications, all follow-up visits, and shipping. They have an initial consultation fee of $20 which will be deducted from the $289 fee if you decide to continue with their services.
NOTE: A telemedicine site mentioned in a previous blog on this topic in 2020, Telabortion.org, was instrumental in creating the medical studies that led the FDA to relax its rule on the availability of abortion pills, but it no longer offers telemedicine abortions.
Other laws and policies to know about abortion in Colorado (from the National Abortion Rights Action League Colorado):
— Colorado is one of the few states where a late abortion can be obtained. Outpatient abortion is available up to 26 weeks. Additionally, medically indicated termination of pregnancy up to 34 weeks is also an option for conditions such as fetal abnormalities, genetic disorders, fetal death, and/or serious medical conditions.
“There are no spousal consent laws in Colorado. A woman can obtain an abortion without obtaining the authorization of her spouse and without her spouse’s knowledge.
— There is no mandatory waiting period before you can have an abortion in Colorado.
— If you are under 18, you have the right to access confidential family planning services.
And if you decide to have an abortion and people try to make you feel guilty and shamed by saying things like “killing a baby”, here is a link to my blog from 2014, “Why a fetus is not a person “, so you have ammunition to argue.