Reproductive Health Care Program – SB9

FREE contraception for uninsured and overlooked Coloradans!

Although the worldwide pandemic presented overwhelming challenges to our community and nearly halted legislative activity completely, COLOR wasn’t about to let COVID-19 block our pursuit of reproductive justice for all Coloradans. In 2021, we passed landmark legislation to provide preventive reproductive health care services to undocumented Coloradans.

As you know, even the Affordable Care Act excluded immigrants without documentation from health care coverage. SB 21-009 begins to correct this injustice by providing new access to contraception services to undocumented Coloradans that may not be able to afford this important preventive health care on their own.The bill also requires that all individuals enrolled in Medicaid receive at least a 12-month supply of contraception, saving money and time for busy, working individuals and families.

families. We are so proud of the work we accomplished, and are honored to share these wins with you.

“Senate Bill 9 is ambitious, forward-thinking, and the right thing to do. It builds on the legacy we have set forth as a state of working to close gaps in care, of being a place where all people are treated with respect, and of actively striving to advance racial and reproductive justice.”

Karla Gonzales Garcia
Former Policy Director

Why SB 9?

Being able to decide when and if to have a child, and accessing ways to prevent or end a pregnancy in a safe and dignified manner are two of the core tenants of Reproductive Justice. Contraceptive use helps people realize their own reproductive goals which, in turn, helps them achieve their educational, employment, and financial ambitions.

Immigration status should not determine who has access to care. By staying true to our values and messaging, SB 9 was successful in creating the infrastructure that allows undocumented people to receive services through Medicaid which will hopefully be built upon in future legislative sessions. COLOR is proud to advance legislation that addresses obstacles to care that people of color and low-income communities need to manage their health and live with dignity — and this is just the beginning!

The SB 9 Story

When we originally introduced SB 9–we thought it was a long shot and would take three- to five-years to pass. With the pandemic and rumors of a slim budget, we intended to use 2021 to educate the community, legislators and others on contraception as healthcare and the intersections with racial justice, economic justice and immigrant rights. 

Instead, the meaningful relationships with legislators held by our Policy Director and lobby team helped catapult our bill to the top priority for the Democratic Women’s Caucus, Latino Caucus and Colorado Senate Democrats. Additionally, strong connections with partner organizations helped us anchor SB 9 in the healthcare space, rather than being confined to just reproductive health or immigrant rights.

A picture of some of our policy team during the 2021 legislative session.
L-R: Katherine Riley (COLOR Policy Director), True Apodaca, Mary Alice Madarich (COLOR Lobbyist), Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, and Karla Gonzales Garcia (former COLOR Policy Director).  

What does SB 9 do exactly?

SB 9 established the Reproductive Health Care program within Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) to provide contraception to individuals that earn low wages and would otherwise qualify for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) if not for their immigration status. The bill also requires that all Health First Colorado enrollees who want a 12 month supply of contraception receive it. No more going back to the doctor’s office and the pharmacy every 1-3 months just to refill your birth control!

Click here to check out Health First Colorado for more information!

If you would like to learn more about our policy advocacy, read our 2021 Legislative Policy Report here.