By: Gabrielle Franklin
Mar. 9, 2023
DENVER (KDVR) — Lawmakers at the state Capitol introduced another package of bills Thursday. This time, the group of mostly women Democrats brought forward three bills, all related to expanding abortion care.
This group of lawmakers is pushing to make sure everyone has access to abortions in Colorado. They said they want access to be protected no matter what the Supreme Court does.
“The rage that so many of us experienced in our bodies and in our bones that the Supreme Court of this nation would so wholly undermine our ability to make decisions about our own bodies,” Senator Julie Gonzales of Denver said. “So I spent a little bit of time this summer being mad but then, the people who you see standing alongside me, we stopped being mad and got to work. What a joy to now be able to present before you a package of three policies that we’ll be hearing about today.”
Gonzales and the group of state lawmakers introduced three bills Thursday, all involving abortion care in Colorado.
The first bill hones in on what are known as pregnancy centers. The measure looks to prevent these centers from using deceptive advertising regarding abortions as well as preventing what’s known as abortion pill reversal.
“This practice is not only dangerous and unregulated, but evidence shows these pills cannot even reverse an abortion but what they do is impact a pregnant person’s body and harms us. So that’s why I’m honored to introduce with my colleagues a bill that prohibits the use of deceptive advertising by these centers and that limits what they market, what they want us to believe, is an abortion reversal pill,” Denver Representative Elisabeth Epps said.
Another bill looks to protect doctors and patients who are receiving or giving abortion and gender-affirming care in Colorado from criminal prosecution.
“I’m proud to sponsor legislation that not only affirms our right to health care but shields it from gross overreach by interstate investigators, preventing other states from enforcing their restrictive abortion laws in Colorado,” Representative Brianna Titone of Arvada said.
The third bill looks to close insurance gaps for abortion care and sexually transmitted disease treatment.
“This package and this bill seek to address those structural barriers to care by reducing cost sharing for Coloradans, providing transportation services for abortion care and addressing both financial and access inequities,” Mannat Singh of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative said.
Colorado Catholic Conference provides statement
“The Colorado Catholic Conference, as the united voice of the Catholic Bishops and member of the Pro-Life Colorado coalition, is saddened and justly angered by the damaging and fallacious bills contained within the so-called ‘Safe Access to Protected Health Care’ package – referred to as ‘RHEA 2.0.’ Without seeing the full bill text for each of these proposals, the descriptions suggest that the entire package has several blatant First Amendment violations, including:
“(1) Restraining those seeking to inform woman of the availability and long-history of safe practice for Abortion Pill Reversal treatments – and effectively banning those treatments, removing the choice of women to sustain their pregnancy and save their baby after taking abortion inducing drugs;
“(2) Compelling pregnancy centers to make disclosures on abortion in their advertisement and restricting their ability to advertise their work (U.S. Supreme Court ruled on this in Nat’l Inst. of Life & Family Advocates v. Becerra 2018);
“(3) Restricting the ability of medical providers to terminate contracts of employees who violate lawful Ethical Religious Directives by either performing ‘gender affirming care’ (transition surgeries, hormone therapy, etc.) or “abortion related services” (abortion, tubal ligations, etc.);
“(4) Alluding to provisions similar to what was in the Affordable Health Care Act and was subsequently successfully challenged (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby 2014) for violating religious liberty;
“(5) Potentially increasing use and accessibility of Medicaid funds for abortion and contraception access,” the Colorado Catholic Conference said.