For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2019

Contact:

Laura Chapin, Communications Consultant
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado

ANOTHER UNCONSTITUTIONAL ABORTION BAN BILL FAILS IN HOUSE HEALTH COMMITTEE

Denver – Another unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion in Colorado has failed on a vote of 7-4 in the House Health & Insurance Committee.

HB19-1103 would change Colorado’s statutory definition of pregnancy, banning virtually all abortions (with no exception for rape or incest), ban emergency contraception and some forms of fertility treatment in Colorado, and would impose criminal penalties against providers, pharmacists and other health professionals who perform abortion or dispense medication for a non-surgical procedure. This bill interferes with personal medical decisions by opening the door to investigations into a woman’s medical record if a confirmed or suspected pregnancy does not result in live birth, including women who experienced a miscarriage or a stillbirth.

This is not only unconstitutional, but also an alarming overreach in a state where voters have rejected abortion bans at the ballot box multiple times.

According to Aurora Ob-Gyn Dr. Aaron Lazorwitz, “This bill uses terminology such as “unborn human being” and “unborn child”, which are not medical terms and applies broad personhood past the stage of fertilization. Though this bill makes exceptions for threats to maternal life, it demands “reasonable medical efforts” to save both the mother’s life and the fetus, with no clarification as to what these reasonable medical efforts entail. With this ambiguity, I would be faced with the real risk of criminal prosecution for trying to save the life of any pregnant woman. This bill simply takes away a woman’s right to make choices about her reproductive health and interferes with my ability to care for my patients.”

And as the Reverend Laura Rossbert, representing the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado testified, “From the earliest days of my religious tradition, Methodists have been providing and advocating for health care for those in our communities. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, offered medical services at no cost to the marginalized in London. This stems from our commitment to follow the example of Jesus’ teaching in the Bible to provide health care for all without regard to status or ability to pay as portrayed in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:24-35). The duty of every neighbor and thus of every person is to seek the well-being of those in our communities and to treat them as we ourselves would want to be treated. I strongly believe that the imperative to care for others, includes access to safe and legal abortions.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ Vice President of Public Affairs, Sarah Taylor-Nanista, said of the bill, “Every year, we see bills intended to put obstacles between women and their doctors and every year the bills go nowhere because Colorado doesn’t support them. Politicians should not dictate medical treatment – that’s the job of medical professionals, based on patient needs. Colorado voters have decisively rejected ‘personhood’ numerous times at the ballot box and Colorado has a long history of supporting women’s reproductive health. This politically-motivated bill is just a waste of time. Politicians are not qualified to practice medicine. Planned Parenthood has provided quality health care to our patients in the Rocky Mountain region for more than 100 years and we will continue to fight bad laws that endanger what’s best for our patients.”

According to Rev. Dawn Riley Duval, Soul 2 Soul Sisters, Co-Founder/Executive Director, “We have seen bills like this before.  Bills attempting to make abortions so expensive or complicated to receive that families – particularly low-income families of color – encounter great difficulty in obtaining necessary medical help.  Making serious health-related decisions is a holy, intimate time full of reflection and deep communication with God, universe, ancestors, self, beloveds. Yet, time and again I have witnessed the beauty and efficacy of religion and spirituality perverted by elected officials who use their beliefs as a license to discriminate against women in decreasing our access to healthcare.  This is not a testament to the loving faith that I believe in. Nor is it a testament to the loving community where I want to live … Opposing HB 1103 is about compassion, justice, love, and trusting women to make healthy decisions – trust women of color, trust Black women.”

Concluded Karla Gonzales Garcia, Policy Director, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), “Personhood legislation is part of an agenda of denying personal decisions and criminalizing women and providers, attacks that fall hardest on low-income women and women of color.  An alarming number of women are being arrested, prosecuted and jailed just for losing their pregnancies or for self-managing their abortion care. We should be working to eliminate barriers to health care and support women and families in our community, rather than pushing laws that impose personal beliefs and are likely to have dangerous consequences.  It is not the place of the state legislature to define human life or to decide if a person is ready to become a parent.”

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