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Historic protections for abortions and gender-affirming care signed into law

Gov. Jared Polis, seated, surrounded by lawmakers and advocates, signed three reproductive healthcare bills that expand and protect access to abortions and gender-affirming care in Colorado on Friday, April 14, 2023.
Lucas Brady Woods
/
KUNC
Gov. Jared Polis, seated, surrounded by lawmakers and advocates, signed three reproductive healthcare bills that expand and protect access to abortions and gender-affirming care in Colorado on Friday, April 14, 2023.

Gov. Jared Polis signed three major reproductive healthcare bills into law Friday that expand and protect access to abortions and gender-affirming care.

“We've seen countless attacks on reproductive rights and access to gender affirming care in neighboring states across the country,” Polis said at Friday’s bill signing ceremony. “That's not the Colorado way. We believe in the ability of individuals to make their own decisions. That's a really important value that we share in our state, and these bills further that value of protecting bodily autonomy and people's rights.”

One of the measures, Senate Bill 188 adds protections for out-of-state patients seeking reproductive healthcare or gender-affirming care in Colorado. It also shields their providers from interstate prosecution or investigation by states that have criminalized those treatments.

Bill sponsor Rep. Brianna Titone, Colorado’s first openly transgender lawmaker, said the measures are about freedom.

“It's about bodily autonomy,” Titone said. “This is about people being able to do what's right for them. Period, full stop.”

Rep. Brianna Titone, Colorado's first openly transgender lawmakers, sponsored Senate Bill 188, which adds protections for out-of-state patients seeking abortions and gender-affirming care in Colorado, and the providers of those treatments. Titone is pictured here at the bill's signing on Friday, April 14, 2023.
Lucas Brady Woods
/
KUNC
Rep. Brianna Titone, Colorado's first openly transgender lawmakers, sponsored Senate Bill 188, which adds protections for out-of-state patients seeking abortions and gender-affirming care in Colorado, and the providers of those treatments. Titone is pictured here at the bill's signing on Friday, April 14, 2023.

Abortions are banned in 13 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, including Colorado neighbors Oklahoma and Texas. Arizona and Utah also have partial bans in place, with more severe bans currently blocked by the courts.

“Let the passage of these three bills as they are being signed into law today stand as a testament to folks in this state and across the country,” bill sponsor Sen. Julie Gonzales said. “Colorado is a beacon for care.”

The Human Rights Campaign is tracking more than 800 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country. At least 110 of those would outlaw or limit gender-affirming care for transgender people. Arizona, Texas and Utah are among the states with bans in place already.

A second measure, Senate Bill 190 outlaws deceptive advertising from crisis pregnancy centers and blocks 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, Senate Bill 189, mandates insurance coverage for reproductive and sexual healthcare. It would add mandates that health insurance plans cover the cost of abortion care and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, including preventative medications.

Copyright 2023 KUNC. To see more, visit KUNC.

Lucas Brady Woods