Sweeping measure to protect reproductive rights in Colorado passes first legislative hurdle

Democrats in Colorado are playing offense to protect abortion access and reproductive healthcare

By Katie McDonough
Published April 11, 2014 5:42PM (EDT)
  (AP/Susan Walsh)
(AP/Susan Walsh)

The Colorado state Senate's Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday advanced a measure that would protect reproductive rights by prohibiting government entities from creating policy to deny or interfere with access to reproductive healthcare or information about that care.

Democratic state Sen. Andy Kerr, who sponsored the measure, called it “an effort to keep politics and politicians away from Coloradans’ health care and reproductive decisions. The bill simply protects personal freedom and women’s and families’ rights to determine what’s appropriate according to their own value system."

As KDVR Denver notes, the measure is a rare proactive move to protect reproductive rights from future efforts to scale back access. Supporters of the measure in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature see it as an advance protection against changing political tides, noting the devastating consequences of restrictions advanced in Republican-controlled state Legislatures like Texas.

“While states like Texas are actively closing clinics in rural areas, today’s vote is a commitment to help ensure women throughout Colorado will have access to reproductive health care without government interference,” Democratic state Sen. Jeanne Nicholson told KDVR.

The proposal did not receive a single Republican vote.

“We appreciate the fact that legislators are implementing mainstream Colorado values, sound health care policy, and reflecting the will of Colorado voters,” said Karen Middleton, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “Colorado voters have said over and over that they believe women have the right to make their own health care decisions. We need to protect that right and ensure government doesn’t get in between women and their doctors.”


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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