by Emily Michels, Policy Analyst

Chances are you know at least one woman in your life – heck, you may even identify as one! If this is the case – or even if it’s not – it’s time to pay attention to what’s happened during this 2016 Colorado Legislative Session in relation to women’s health, because in many ways it feels like this Amy Schumer clip.


 

As part of CCHI’s vision – that all Coloradans can access affordable, high-quality and equitable health care – we stay alert to what is happening in the State Legislature that can affect women’s access to care. This session has brought some familiar bills from last year’s session, as well as some new ones – for better or worse. The following bills are some of the pieces of legislation that we have seen emerge and their potential effects on Colorado women.

HB16-1007 “Offenses Against Unborn Children”
HB16-1113 “Protect Human Life At Conception”
HB16-1146 “Born Alive Infant Protection Act”
HB16-1203 “Women’s Health Protection Act”
HB16-1218 “A Woman’s Right To Accurate Health Care Info”
HB16-1294 “Contraception Coverage Public & Private Insurance”
HB16-1322 “Health Coverage Prescription Contraceptives Supply”
HB16-1381 “Health Care Coverage For Cancer Screening”
HB16-1438 “Employer Accommodations Related To Pregnancy”
 

HB16-1007 “Offenses Against Unborn Children” – Oppose

What It Is

If the commission of any crime codified in the criminal code or traffic code is the proximate cause of death or injury to an unborn member of the species homo sapiens, the prosecuting attorney, in charging the underlying offense, may also charge the homicide or assault offense that is appropriate to the death or injury.

Who It Affects

Medical providers; women seeking reproductive health treatments

Why We Took Our Position

This bill is an indirect attempt to redefine personhood, which often has subsequent consequences for women’s health issues and procedures. CCHI believes that this bill has the potential to roll back gains in access made by the ACA and create barriers for women’s reproductive health care rights in Colorado.

Status

Billed died in its first committee

 

HB16-1113 “Protect Human Life At Conception” – Oppose

What It Is

This bill deems terminating the life of an unborn child a class 1 felony, a conviction constituting unprofessional conduct for a physician. Exceptions to the prohibition are 1) a physician attempting to prevent the death of a pregnant mother if reasonable efforts are made to save both lives or 2) if medical treatment is being provided that results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death of the unborn child.

Who It Affects

Medical providers; women seeking reproductive health treatments

Why We Took Our Position

As this bill criminalizes the practice of abortion, it deters providers from providing this service to patients that seek it, causing an access issue for women and potentially life-threatening health issues for these patients seeking treatment.

Status

Bill died in its first committee

 

HB16-1146 “Born Alive Infant Protection Act” – Oppose

What It Is

The bill defines, for the purposes of all statutes, child, human being, individual, and person as every infant human being who is born alive at any stage of development. The bill goes on to define born alive under a number of physiological factors regardless of the means of expulsion or extraction from the mother.

Who It Affects

Women seeking reproductive health treatments; medical providers

Why We Took Our Position

CCHI did not take an official position, however this definition of personhood has the potential to criminalize reproductive health treatments and therefore reduce Colorado women’s access to care, or limit the treatments that medical providers are allowed to perform.

Status

Bill died in its first committee

 

HB16-1203 “Women’s Health Protection Act” – Oppose

What It Is

This bill requires all abortion clinics to be licensed by the Attorney General, with a number of factors playing in to whether the clinic can be licensed or not, including providers having hospital admitting privileges and physical facilities requirements.

Who It Affects

Abortion clinics and providers; women seeking reproductive health treatments

Why We Took Our Position

HB16-1203 imposes costly burdens on clinics and pushes health care services out of reach for many low-income and vulnerable Coloradans. This bill poses a threat to Coloradans’ health because it could potentially limit access for women to get care at places that also provide abortions.

Status

Bill died in its first committee

 

HB16-1218 “A Woman’s Right To Accurate Health Care Info” – Oppose

What It Is

This bill requires abortion providers to give ultrasounds, information on gestational stages, pictures of the unborn child, and information on other options in order to avoid an “uninformed decision” on the part of the mother.

Who It Affects

Women seeking reproductive health treatments; medical providers

Why We Took Our Position

CCHI believes that this bill would require women to go through undue hardship during the process of receiving medical treatment and potentially suppress their ability to seek necessary treatment.

Status

Bill died in its first committee

 

HB16-1294 “Contraception Coverage Public & Private Insurance” – Support

What It Is

This bill requires Medicaid managed care plans and health benefit plans that are required under the ACA to provide contraceptive coverage as a preventive health service to cover, at no cost to the woman covered by the plan: all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and other products for women; voluntary sterilization procedures; education and counseling; follow-up services. Plans must cover either the original approved method or a therapeutic equivalent.

Who It Affects

Women who take or are interested in taking birth control

Why We Took Our Position

CCHI believes that this bill allows for women to have a wider array of copay-free contraception methods, increasing their access to health care and affordable medication. The expanded list of contraceptive methods will allow women to use the right medication for their bodies without compromising for the sake of cost.

Status

Passed through the House; died in Senate committee

 

HB16-1322 “Health Coverage Prescription Contraceptives Supply” – Support

What It Is

This bill requires health benefit plans that are required under the ACA to provide contraception coverage as a preventive health service for women to reimburse providers or dispensing entities for dispensing prescription contraceptives in a 3-month supply for the first dispensing to the insured person and for a 12-month supply for subsequent dispensing of the same prescription contraceptive to the insured person.

Who It Affects

Women who take or are interested in taking birth control

Why We Took Our Position

Allowing women to receive longer-term amounts of contraception at one time makes the process of using and accessing contraception easier and less of a burden. Having medicine in one’s possession for a longer period of time lessens the chances of a gap in utilization and therefore allows for the correct use of one’s medication, in addition to making it a more comfortable process to receive the medication.

Status

Passed through the House, assigned to a Senate committee

 

HB16-1381 “Health Care Coverage For Cancer Screening” – Support

What It Is

This bill requires annual health care coverage for breast cancer screenings not subject to cost sharing, using the breast imaging modality appropriate for each individual as determined by the individual’s physician or radiologist.

Who It Affects

All Colorado women

Why We Took Our Position

This bill updates a previous benefit in order to bring it up to date with current breast care screening technology. CCHI believes that women’s bodies are different and they require different forms of preventive care, and that these types of care should be readily available.

Status

Passed through the House; died in Senate committee

 

HB16-1438 “Employer Accommodations Related To Pregnancy” – No Official Position

What It Is

The bill makes it an unfair employment practice if an employer
fails to provide reasonable accommodations for an applicant for
employment or an employee for conditions related to pregnancy or
childbirth. The bill requires each employer to provide a notice of rights regarding the unfair employment practice to his or her employees.

Who It Affects

Pregnant workers; Colorado employers

Why We Took Our Position

CCHI has not taken an official position, however we believe that accommodations that make it so that pregnant women can both keep their jobs and stay healthy during their pregnancies are an important women’s health issue.

Status

Passed through the House, assigned to a Senate committee

Women are half of our population, yet legislation seems targeted to them in an overwhelmingly disproportionate manner. We appreciate the positive legislation put forth to protect and help women in their health care journeys, but there is always work to be done on the defensive, as well. Every session is important from a women’s health perspective – whether in a good way or bad – and there is always work to be done that we look forward to tackling.

If you are interested in CCHI’s work on women’s health and want to join in the conversation, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected] to be added to our Women’s Health Coalition.

Translate »