A press release from NARAL Pro Choice Colorado on the death yesterday of two anti-abortion bills in the Colorado House, one a so-called “fetal homicide” bill with no exceptions to prevent the prosecution of women, and a second bill that simply made abortion a felony in Colorado with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest:
Today, physicians and reproductive health activists spoke out against and defeated yet more attempts to ban abortion and put politicians in between women and their doctors in Colorado. Two dangerous, anti-women’s health bills failed in House committees. The first bill, HB 1007, would create fetal personhood. The second, HB 1113, would ban abortion and criminalize doctors who provide vital care for Colorado women. The goal of both bills was clear – to attack access to abortion in Colorado and interfere in the doctor-patient relationship…
According to Dr. Aaron Lazowicz, a Denver Ob-Gyn who testified against HB 1007, the fetal personhood bill, “I recently cared for a woman who had previously undergone surgical sterilization after having two children and several years later presented to my emergency department with an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured inside of her. She was actively bleeding and had to be rushed to the operating room so that we could take out the ectopic pregnancy to stop the bleeding.
She and her husband had made the decision together that two children was enough for them, but unfortunately no surgical procedure can work perfectly 100% of the time. If House bill 1007 were to pass, this woman and I would be faced with the real risk of criminal prosecution for trying to save her life due to ambiguous terminology used in this bill. My patients expect the best and most appropriate treatment from me and this bill would interfere with my ability to serve their needs.”
…According to Dr. Emily Schneider, a practicing Denver Ob-Gyn who testified against HB 1113, which would make abortion a felony in Colorado and criminalize doctors, “I have treated a wide array of patients in my practice. Every woman is different, and every situation is different. As a physician, I have to be able to use my best medical judgment based on the individual needs of the patient…[t]hese are not hypothetical horror stories. These are the real-life, private medical decisions faced by and made by physicians and their patients every day. This bill will ultimately hurt my patients, as well as women across Colorado.”
After hours of debate in two House committees, both anti-abortion bills debated yesterday were killed. In the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, the discomfort from some Republicans over these bills was especially evident. Rep. Kit Roupe, in a tight race for one of the most competitive seats in El Paso County, was excused from voting. Another Republican, Rep. Dan Thurlow, bucked fellow Republicans once again by voting against the bill even though there were enough Democratic votes to kill it without his help.
The lack of any press coverage of yesterday’s long hearings seems to reflect a collective judgment that these bills destined for death are not worthy of coverage. With fewer reporters covering bigger beats than ever today, it’s a judgment you can see reporters making without prejudice.
It’s also totally wrong.
The truth is, abortion rights are in serious peril in many states. Recent restrictions on abortion in Texas, as one example, have dramatically reduced access to abortion in that state with severe consequences for Texas women. But despite the hundreds of abortion restrictions that have been successfully passed across the nation in recent years, Republicans in Colorado have somehow managed to make work a schizophrenic campaign of attacking abortion rights on a more or less continuous basis–then claiming that it doesn’t matter at election time because “abortion rights are not in danger.” If Democrats try to make an issue of Republican attempts to restrict abortion rights in Colorado, Republicans complain about Democrats being “obsessed with social issues.”
As the local media downplays the ongoing Republican attempts to restrict and even totally ban abortion in Colorado, a grave disservice is being done to Colorado voters. The reason why Republicans cannot restrict abortion rights in Colorado is simple: in Colorado, they do not have control. The problem is, every election risks a change of power that could easily result in Texas-style abortion restrictions, or worse, being passed and signed into law in Colorado. In 2014, GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez openly promised as much, even declaring IUDs to be “abortifacients.”
Bottom line: these DOA abortion restriction bills are not “meaningless.” They are a warning–of bad things that are happening right now in other states, and are never more than one election away in Colorado.
The media ignores them not at their peril, but all of ours.