For Immediate Release – April 14, 2023
THE SAFE ACCESS TO PROTECTED HEALTHCARE PACKAGE HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW BY GOVERNOR POLIS
Denver, CO – Today, Colorado advocates applaud Governor Jared Polis for signing all three bills of the Safe Access to Protected Health Care package into state law. Ten months after the loss of Roe v. Wade, this package’s passage signals that Colorado is building its legacy as a national safe haven for care, even in the midst of constant, nationwide attacks on abortion access.
The Safe Access to Protected Health Care Package is a set of three bills that build on Colorado’s ability to strengthen our shared values of protecting bodily autonomy and abortion care. Each of these bills has been designed to address existing barriers that prevent patients from being able to access their right to care.
- SB23-188, Protections For Accessing Reproductive Health Care
- SB23-189, Increasing Access To Reproductive Health Care
- SB23-190, Deceptive Trade Practice Pregnancy-related Service
“The devastating decision overturning Roe has resulted in states all around us banning abortion care, sending patients to Colorado for help they can’t get in their home state. Gender-affirming care has come under escalating attack from the same people banning abortion care. The climate of fear for patients, providers, and helpers of people seeing abortion care and gender-affirming care is very real and intentional,” said Karen Middleton, President of Cobalt. “SB 188 protects patients, providers, and assistors of politically targeted healthcare services – including abortion and gender-affirming care – from interstate criminal threats. This bill will shield legally-protected health care patients, providers, and helpers from criminal prosecution and imprisonment; court summons, subpoenas, and arrests; interstate investigations, divulging information, or assistance with investigations; and professional de-licensing and other discrimination. SB 188 builds on the Reproductive Health Equity Act, further guaranteeing people seeking abortion and gender-affirming care that they are safe to access health care here in Colorado.”
“I can’t tell you how proud I am that we’re protecting and expanding access to abortion, gender-affirming care, HIV care, and more today,” said Jack Teter, Regional Director of Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Even now, a Trump-appointed judge in Texas is trying to ban the most common form of abortion care nationwide, speakers at CPAC are calling for transgender people to be “eradicated,” and states all around us are banning lifesaving gender-affirming care. We will not let them harm our patients or providers, here in Colorado. The policies signed into law today are the result of years of movement building and community and partner collaboration. We are so grateful to the lawmakers who listened carefully to advocates and community members and swiftly took action to make sure Coloradans can access the care they need safely, affordably, and free from misinformation.”
“For years, we’ve heard from young people across the state about the harm anti-abortion centers cause—especially students on campuses near anti-abortion centers—through the Brazen Project. There is a clear pattern of anti-abortion centers deceiving young people to shame and mislead them away from accessing essential health care during their most vulnerable time. We’re proud of the work we’ve done with our community members and COLOR to pass SB-190 Deceptive Trade Practice Pregnancy-related Service to make sure every person in and coming to Colorado for care receives unbiased and accurate medical information,” said Arianna Morales, Policy Manager at New Era Colorado. “Each bill in the Safe Access to Protected Health Care Package is an essential pillar in building Colorado’s capabilities as a reproductive care safe haven. With the attacks on access to abortion care crossing state lines, the package of bills is needed more than ever. Young people turn out to protect and expand abortion access; we showed up at the legislature this year, and we’ll keep advocating until reproductive care is truly accessible and affordable for all people in Colorado.”
“We’ve seen for generations how our communities, despite having the legal right, could not equitably access basic reproductive healthcare, including abortion. With the fall of Roe, however, the circumstances became even more dire. Luckily, COLOR and our partners at Cobalt knew this decision was looming, and we worked together to make sure that our right to abortion, contraception, and the right to give birth are protected here in Colorado through the Reproductive Health Equity Act,” said Katherine Riley, Policy Director for COLOR. “Now, almost one year later, all of the bills in the Safe Access to Protected Healthcare package are heading to the Gov’s desk for signing! While RHEA protected our rights, there were still issues of access, affordability, and transparency to address. With these three bills, COLOR, Cobalt, New Era Colorado, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, alongside so many other partners, worked to protect abortion and gender-affirming care patients, providers, and those who help them; close key gaps in reproductive and preventative health care costs and expand services to immigrants, regardless of documentation; and prohibit deceptive advertising from anti-abortion centers.