For Immediate Release – March 30, 2023
LETTER: THE SAFE ACCESS FOR PROTECTED HEALTH CARE PACKAGE HAS NATIONAL SUPPORT FROM REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RIGHTS, AND JUSTICE PARTNERS
In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, the future of abortion access, reproductive rights, and dignified care in America is clearly in danger. While Colorado continues to be a safe haven for its residents who seek care and those traveling for thousands of miles for care, we know abortion access states cannot stop there.
The undersigned 23 national reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations call on the Colorado legislature to pass and Governor Polis to sign the package of three bills, known as Safe Access to Protected Health Care Package. This package is a proactive step towards protecting the rights of patients and providers, tackling misinformation in Colorado communities, and closing gaps in insurance coverage to make care more affordable. These bills were created in concert with providers, patients, advocates, and community members to ensure that they’re addressing the issues most critical to Coloradans.
After the fall of Roe, states hostile to reproductive rights are clearly not content with prohibiting abortion within their borders; they seek to impose their restrictions on all states. Similarly, nationally we have seen a tremendous uptick in legislation targeting transgender patients and their families. SB23-188 will shield patients, providers, and helpers from criminal prosecution and imprisonment; extradition; civil lawsuits; court summons, subpoenas, and arrests; interstate investigations, divulging information, or assistance with investigations; and professional de-licensing and other discrimination. Following successful actions from Massachusetts, Illinois, California, this bill would ensure that other states do not impose their regressive laws on Coloradans.
A well-known problem in Colorado is the proliferation of anti-abortion centers (AACs). They are the on-the-ground presence of the national anti-abortion movement and outnumber abortion providing centers 51 to 20. Anti-abortion centers use deceptive advertising to lure people in and to steer people away from abortion and other time-sensitive reproductive healthcare procedures. Modeled after Connecticut’s recent and successful bill, deceptive commercial speech is not protected under the First Amendment and therefore subject to regulation. Not only will this bill combat harmful disinformation, but it will also address inequities in reproductive health care because AACs specifically target Spanish-speaking communities, students, people in rural areas, and uninsured or underinsured populations. Additionally, some centers purport to offer so-called “abortion pill reversal,” an experimental practice denounced by respected medical associations, like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. SB23-190 will prohibit the use of deceptive advertising by AACs and will give the Department of Regulatory Affairs the ability to discipline healthcare professionals who perform “abortion pill reversal.” Transparency, truth in advertising, and peer-reviewed medical procedures are essential to informed consent in medical decision-making, particularly related to time-sensitive services like abortion and emergency contraception.
Reproductive health care is an essential component of primary and preventive care. High deductibles and gaps in coverage create barriers to patient access, even for those who live in Colorado where reproductive health care is protected and legal. SB23-189 closes several access gaps related to sexually transmitted infections and abortion care. Eight states already require private health insurance plans to cover abortion care with no copayments and Colorado should be one of them.
Every Coloradan deserves to live a safe life where they can make their own choices to access the care they need without fear, shame, or institutional obstacles. Health care is a right, not a privilege. As we continue to witness national threats to abortion access every day, we demand Colorado policy makers to rise to the challenge that this moment presents by passing and signing these bills. The time for bold action is now.
Abortion Access Front
All* Above All
Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center (BVWHC)
Catholics for Choice
Center for Reproductive Rights
Colorado Poverty Law Project
If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
MILE HIGH OB/GYN
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Council of Jewish Women
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Women’s Law Center
Physicians for Reproductive Health
Reproductive Health Access Project, Colorado Chapter
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Tampa Bay Abortion Fund