'In Colorado, we got your back': Bills would add protections for abortion and gender-affirming care
Democratic lawmakers announced new efforts to protect access to abortions and gender-affirming care Thursday with a package of three new bills.
Senate Bill 188 would add protections for out-of-state patients seeking reproductive healthcare or gender-affirming care in Colorado. It would also protect their providers from interstate prosecution or investigation by states that have criminalized those treatments.
“A bill that protects patients and providers that says ‘I don't care what other states are doing in their race to the bottom on how they attack trans people or how they attack people who seek or provide abortion care,’” Bill sponsor Sen. Julie Gonzales said. “In Colorado, we got your back.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortions are fully banned in 12 states, , including Colorado neighbors Oklahoma and Texas. Arizona and Utah also have partial bans in place, with more severe bans currently blocked by the courts.
The Human Rights Campaign is tracking 175 bills introduced in state legislatures across the country this year that target transgender people, including 90 that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Oklahoma and Utah passed legislation outlawing such care in the last few months.
“Gender-affirming care can be truly life-changing and life-saving,” said bill sponsor Rep. Brianna Titone, the first openly transgender Colorado lawmaker. “It gives people the power to live their lives unapologetically and be their true selves. Gender-affirming care saves lives, positively impacts mental health, builds self esteem and supports and validates people.”
Another bill, Senate Bill 190 would outlaw deceptive advertising from crisis pregnancy centers and block them from offering unproven abortion reversal medications.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says crisis pregnancy centers try to dissuade, deter or prevent people from accessing reproductive healthcare — including abortions — by presenting themselves as legitimate reproductive healthcare providers. The group also finds that abortion reversal medications have no basis in science and do not meet clinical standards.
A third bill, Senate Bill 189, aims to streamline insurance coverage for reproductive and sexual healthcare. It would add mandates that health insurance plans cover the cost of abortion care as well as treatment for sexually transmitted infections, including preventative medications.