Colorado News Connection
|February 22, 2018||Available files: mp3 wav jpg|
DENVER - Colorado got above-average grades in a new national report card on reproductive health and rights, and groups are gathering at the state Capitol today to urge lawmakers not to pass two bills they say would move the state backwards.
Victoria Gomez Betancourt with the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, said these kinds of measures perpetuate a dangerous culture of silencing and shaming people for their reproductive health care decisions:
"That seek to demonize people for seeking abortion care or other types of reproductive health care services," Gomez Betancourt said. "That becomes an obstacle for having frank conversations in the family space or with health care providers."
Proponents of HB18-1082 say the measure would protect unborn children by adding medical procedures before an abortion can take place. HB 1225 would make abortion in Colorado a class one felony, with limited exceptions.
Betancourt said both measures, scheduled to be heard Thursday in committee, would put abortion and other health services out of reach, especially for low-income women and people of color.
According to the Population Institute's annual 50 State Report Card on Reproductive Health and Rights, the nation as a whole slipped from a "D" to a "D-minus" because of tightened state and federal policies that limit access to contraceptive and other health care services.
Jennie Wetter, director of public policy at the institute, said despite the falling grades, there is good news to report.
"Right now across the U.S., you have the lowest teen pregnancy rate we've ever seen. It's still higher than most other developed countries, but it is at a historic low, and the unintended pregnancy rate is at a 30-year low," Wetter said. "This is where we have seen states make real progress."
She said Colorado got a "B-minus" because of a restriction that prevents abortion providers from receiving family-planning funding. The state scored high for increasing access to care by expanding Medicaid coverage and for allowing minors access to birth control without a parent's consent.