The End of Roe c. Wade prepares Colorado’s West Slope for more people seeking access to abortion

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On Friday, a crowd of more than 100 gathered in downtown Grand Junction. Some held handmade signs, others wore face paint; there was more than one reference to wire hangers. They had come to protest against the Supreme Court decision on abortion.

Although Colorado allows abortion, the procedure is now illegal in many surrounding states. And that changes the landscape of abortion access within the state.

Jeriel Clark was one of the speakers at the event. A mother of two teenage girls, Clark worries that the new patchwork of laws across the country will restrict where her children feel comfortable going when they’re older. She attended the protest to distribute information about abortion care in Colorado.

“Today we are going to share information on where you can find abortions closest to you,” she said. “But it’s really going to take someone who has the means and the technology available to access that information to be able to get to those places.”

Even before the Supreme Court ruling, access to an abortion was difficult for many people, including those living on the West Slope. Like many communities here, Grand Junction does not have an abortion clinic. The closest is 90 miles away at Glenwood Springs.

Stina Sieg/CPR News
A large crowd gathered outside the Grand Junction Federal Courthouse Friday, June 24, 2022 to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier in the day.

Clark worried that people from Utah would be unable to travel to the handful of clinics that perform abortions in western Colorado, including Cortez and Durango.

Abortion became illegal in Utah with the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, although a judge temporarily blocked the state’s “trigger ban” on Monday.

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