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March 14, 2023 03:07 PM UTC

State Lawmakers Strike Back For Abortion Rights Tomorrow

  • by: Colorado Pols

Tomorrow morning, two different Colorado Senate committees are set to hear testimony on a total of three pieces of legislation introduced by Democrats to further protect abortion rights in the state, as well as regulate dubious services offered by so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” substituting religious dogma and quack science for medical care. Denver7’s Meghan Lopez reported from the presser last week announcing this bill package:

So far this legislative session, a handful of Republicans have introduced anti-abortion bills, which all failed in committees. Democrats, on the other hand, want to further enshrine abortion and gender-affirming care into state law

During a press conference Thursday, three bills were unveiled. All three will start in the Colorado Senate….

The bills will start in the Senate and are likely to lead to some of the longest and most lively debates this legislative session.

The Denver Post’s Saja Hindi summarizes the three pro-abortion rights bills up tomorrow:

Cobalt, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood and New Era Colorado worked with lawmakers to craft three bills. Here’s what each would do if it became law:

  • SB23-188: Prevent the state from recognizing or engaging in any criminal prosecutions or civil lawsuits for anyone who receives, provides or assists in abortions and gender-affirming care. It also prevents state employees from participating in any such interstate investigations.
  • SB23-189: Limit surprise billing and require coverage for reproductive health care and treatments, including abortion, sterilization and sexually-transmitted infections. It also expands access to contraceptives and lets patients use Medicaid transportation for abortion services. And it allows any authorized provider to offer HIV medication, not just pharmacies.
  • SB23-190Prohibit using “deceptive advertising” by crisis pregnancy centers and designate offering so-called abortion reversal medication as “unprofessional conduct.”

The first bill up in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Senate Bill 23-188, is a direct challenge to states like Texas which have passed legislation allowing individuals to bring private lawsuits against abortion providers in order to enforce the law. Under this legislation, authorities in Colorado will have not just the right but the obligation to tell Texas abortion litigants to pound sand. Limiting “surprise billing” for reproductive health care, the first up in the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, is a no-brainer just as it is for all other kinds of health care.

Although anti-abortion groups are mobilizing their crowds of faithful to testify against all three of these bills in committee tomorrow, the bill expected to draw the most ire from the religious right for both doctrinal and cold hard cash reasons is Senate Bill 23-190, legislation to crack down on so-called “crisis pregnancy centers”–well-funded religious organizations who lure in the unsuspecting to offer sermonizing and quack science instead of reproductive health care. The Colorado Times Recorder’s Heidi Beedle reported yesterday:

“I am joining Sen. Winter on a bill to crack down on what we know as anti-abortion centers, or crisis pregnancy centers, which use manipulation and deception to influence people seeking reproductive health care,” said Sen. Janice Marchman (D-Loveland) during a Thursday press conference. “Anti-abortion centers represent the on-the-ground presence of the national anti-abortion movement, offering dangerous, sometimes life-threatening medical procedures like so-called ‘abortion pill reversals.’ These centers are found all across our state. They outnumber legitimate abortion-providing clinics 51 to 20. Even worse, they often target marginalized communities, sometimes posting Spanish-language billboards in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations or offering free services to low-income communities. Right now, these ideologically-driven centers are free to present themselves as legitimate family planning, reproductive health care clinics. But the reality is, these are fake clinics that lure in vulnerable people seeking care. They peddle biased and inaccurate information about abortion care and contraceptives. And they take advantage of people during some of their most vulnerable moments.”

This bill operates on the simple argument that “crisis pregnancy centers” are not legitimate reproductive health providers. Being run by religious organizations who refuse to recommend the full range of options available to pregnant patients, these centers leave those who turn to them in crisis at risk of life-altering and even life-threatening outcomes. And as we’ve noted repeatedly in response to perennial Republican bills trying to legitimize the practice, abortion “reversal medication” is an “unproven medical approach” condemned by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

As one of the nation’s strongest remaining havens for reproductive rights in the post-Roe world, Colorado doesn’t need fake reproductive health providers offering pregnant people false choices. What we should be doing instead, as these bills do, is strengthening and easing access to actual reproductive care.

To us it’s as simple as not taking horse paste for COVID.


3 thoughts on “State Lawmakers Strike Back For Abortion Rights Tomorrow

  1. SB 23-188.  Check. Sounds good.

    SB 23-189. Once again; sounds good.

    SB 23-190. Sounds good on paper, and I agree with the intent. However, I think this one, as written, will run afoul of freedom of speech issues.

    Might be better for advocates to start picketing in front of some of these fake pregnancy centers. What's good for one ought to be good for all; considering that the religious crazies routinely picket at Planned Parenthood offices.


      1. 98.6!  You want to be a church, fine; but don’t misrepresent yourself as a medical care facility.

        You can even feel completely free to call and promote yourselves The First Blessed Prosperity Cisgender Heterosexual Church of Invermectin, practice your voodoo, shake your rattles, burn your incense, warble your hymns pleasing to your divinity(s), and distribute to the entirety of your blessed flock 1.2-oz. bottles of Rev. Jim Bakker’s Big Orange Chosen One Miracle Sacramental Clorox you want (“with every minimum $99 faith donation”), but you can’t advertise yourself as a health care facility or any of it as being for any medical use. (At least for now.).

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