|Our timing was great for this briefing. Several of our speakers were with us live on Zoom from the Capitol building because their three legislative proposals were being heard before state legislators.
The speakers were from organizations that form a consortium that works to support reproductive rights and gender-affirming care. Their information and insights covered what the current reproductive health provision situation is in Colorado, the three proposals (SB23-188, SB23-189 and SB23-190 ) and the impact of so-called crisis pregnancy centers proliferating here.
Though numerous pieces in the news media are addressing the potential ruling out of Texas, which would withdraw misoprostol, one of the two medication abortion drugs, from use all over the United States, Claudia Perez, the Public Affairs Manager ofPlanned Parenthood of the Rockies(PPRM),said this would not stop medication abortions. She assured us that physicians can use the other drug, mifepristone, alone to provide safe and effective abortions. PPRM has see its out-of-state patients go from 1500 in all of 2021 to 300 a week currently. This represents a third off all the patients they treat at their clinics, most of them from Texas. Waiting times for all patients have increased dramatically as a result.
Arianna Morales, Policy Manager forNew Era, and Mar Galvez, Policy Associate from the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) spoke in detail about the misinformation and manipulation of vulnerable people by the over 50 crisis pregnancy centers in Colorado, problems being addressed by SB23-190. One dangerous promise by these non-medical centers is that they can “reverse” medication abortions although there is no valid research that supports this claim. Crisis pregnancy centers now outnumber actual reproductive healthcare clinics in Colorado by 50 to 20.
Our speakers, including Karen Middleton, President ofCobalt, explained the other two bills in the package:
Senate Bill 23-188 seeks to protect patients who travel here from states that severely limit abortion and gender-affirming care as well as the providers in Colorado who provide that care from facing criminal consequences in the home states of these out-of-state patients. These services are legally protected in Colorado under the Reproductive Healthcare Equity Act passed in 2022.
Senate Bill 23-189 would require Colorado-issued insurance plans to cover medication abortions, contraception, vasectomies and the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
Because the LWVUS has had a position since 1983 affirming "... the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices," we have received an Action Alert from LWVCO concerning SB190. We assume we will soon see ones for the other two bills.
Finally, Shara Smith, Executive Director of theInterface Alliance, shared that faith is not a monolith when it comes to beliefs about reproductive rights, and we need to be careful about public policy that allows one faith tradition to dictate what healthcare everyone in a pluralistic society should receive.
The LWV of Colorado’s Reproductive Rights Task Force is a way to get involved in efforts to educate voters about the legislative proposals and advocate for other changes in Colorado. Contact Sharon Davis at email@example.com or lwvcolorado.org. To listen to the briefing if you were unable to attend it, go to ourwebsite.
Susan Stark, Co-Director of Program LWVD