Bills to protect abortion rights, out-of-state patients announced by Colorado Democrats
Colorado Democrats announced Thursday that they will introduce a trio of bills that would build upon last year’s legislation that enshrines the right to abortion into state law.
The bills would prohibit deceptive advertising for anti-abortion centers, increase insurance access for abortion coverage, and ensure that patients and providers for abortion and gender-affirming care would be protected from legal action in other states.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court last summer overturned Roe. v Wade — the landmark decision that gave people a constitutional right to abortion —- Colorado has seen an influx of patients seeking abortion care and other reproductive health services.
All three bills were expected to be introduced Thursday afternoon. Democrats enjoy substantial majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.
The largest of the three bills, Senate Bill 23-188, aims to protect out-of-state patients seeking abortion and gender-affirming care and the Colorado providers who see them.
It will be sponsored by Democrats Sen. Julie Gonzales of Denver, Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis of Longmont, Rep. Meg Froelich of Englewood, and Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada.
If the bill becomes law, Colorado would not recognize prosecutions initiated in another state against people who receive, provide or assist in abortion and gender-affirming care in Colorado. It would also prevent state employees from assisting in interstate investigations into protected care.
Our fundamental freedoms are constantly under attack from harmful, transphobic rhetoric, anti-gay bills and increasing attempts to limit who we are. In Colorado, we say no more. We trust you to make your own medical decisions.
Many states passed tough abortion restrictions in the wake of Roe’s reversal. Increasingly, states are also passing laws that limit gender-affirming care for transgender people.
“Our fundamental freedoms are constantly under attack from harmful, transphobic rhetoric, anti-gay bills and increasing attempts to limit who we are. In Colorado, we say no more. We trust you to make your own medical decisions,” Titone, Colorado’s first openly transgender lawmaker, said.
A second bill, Senate Bill 23-190, targets the advertising practices of anti-abortion centers, sometimes referred to by proponents as “crisis pregnancy centers.” These facilities often exist to steer pregnant people away from abortion care by promising free prenatal care and other resources.
They often advertise health care such as free pregnancy tests, abortion counseling, options counseling and ultrasounds.
The bill, sponsored by Democrats Sen. Faith Winter of Westminster, Sen. Janice Marchman of Loveland, Rep. Karen McCormick of Longmont and Rep. Elisabeth Epps of Denver, would prohibit the use of deceptive advertising practices by the centers.
There are 51 centers in Colorado, compared to 20 abortion providers, as of last August.
“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. They provide biased and inaccurate information about abortion care and contraceptives,” Marchman said.
The bill would also declare that facilitating a so-called “medication abortion reversal,” which involves an influx of progesterone after the first pill of a medical abortion is taken, is unprofessional. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that the abortion reversal method is not based in science.
A Republican-backed bill that would have mandated a physician to provide information about abortion reversal was defeated in committee earlier this legislative session.
A third bill, Senate Bill 23-189, would increase access to reproductive health care, including abortion, using insurance. Sponsors say it would reduce surprise billing and remove patient cost sharing for services like sterilization, treatment for sexually transmitted infections and abortion care.
It would let patients use Medicaid’s non-emergent medical transportation service to get to an abortion appointment. It would also create a state fund that providers could bill directly for a patient’s reproductive health services.
That bill will be sponsored by Democrats Majority Leader Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, Sen. Lisa Cutter of Jefferson County, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet of Commerce City and Lorena Garcia of Adams County,