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Published On: Tue, Feb 4th, 2020

Colorado NARAL splits to form COBALT to promote, fight for ‘unrestricted abortion on demand’

Colorado’s leading reproductive rights organization, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, is splitting with its national affiliate in order to make Colorado an abortion on demand state, ending any restriction.

The state organization, which manages a “freedom fund” to pay for abortions, is changing its name to Cobalt: “It’s fundamental. It’s powerful. It says we are here and we are not going anywhere,” said Karen Middleton, president of the organization for the last six years.

“As the first state to legalize abortion, in 1967, Colorado has few restrictions and is considered somewhat of a stand-alone in a swath of states between Chicago and Los Angeles. People come to Colorado for abortions from neighboring states and the South, which has much stricter laws limiting abortion, particularly later in pregnancy,” Middleton said.

Cobalt is feeding on the fear that Roe vs. Wade could be overturned, limiting abortions on a national scale.

“There is an increased need to be ready if people need to travel to our state if they are unable to access abortion care in their state,” she said Wednesday. “There are states around us that have a trigger law that would ban abortion outright.”

The Colorado organization has been financially self-sufficient for years, Middleton said, but noted that with the split, the group can no longer apply for grant funds available through NARAL Pro-Choice America. The Colorado chapter has been supported by $1.5 million annually in donations from individuals and family foundations, and the local affiliate did not have to share those with the national chapter.

The split is more about putting the group’s sole focus on Colorado, which has less restrictive laws on abortion than Roe v. Wade, Middleton said.

Cobalt’s main goal is to advance abortion access, she said.  “Everything we do is going to be in that lane, without distraction,” she said.

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