Colorado takes a step forward in reproductive rights

The past 50 years or more have seen a constant struggle for reproductive rights for women. It has been a battle that has been constant with some progress made and attempts to remove those rights sometimes winning. Recently, it seems that all the news from the US has been negative with conservatives passing bill after bill to limit access.  Here in Canada, access varies considerably across jurisdictions and is especially poor in rural areas.

With all the obstacles that politicians are putting in the paths of women who require reproductive care, care that sometimes includes abortion, it is refreshing to see a jurisdiction making a positive move. There is a bill before the Colorado senate that, if passed, would ensure both a women’s right to all aspects of reproductive care and respect the privacy of decisions made in a physician’s office.

B 175 guarantees every Colorado resident the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding abortion and contraception. It enshrines women’s fundamental right to privacy and freedom about their health care choices, strengthening the precedent that was established under Roe v. Wade. And, perhaps most importantly, it explicitly prevents state lawmakers from enacting restrictions in this area that aren’t based on scientific evidence.

“The bill prohibits a state or local policy that denies or interferes with an individual’s reproductive health care decisions or a state or local policy regarding reproductive health care that is inconsistent with, or that denies or interferes with access to information based on, current evidence-based scientific data and medical consensus,” the legislation stipulates.

The usual suspects are up in arms.

Jenny Kraska, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, said the bill would “set back the pro-life cause in Colorado greatly.”

“Not only would it undo good prolife laws that we already have enacted, but it would hinder the ability for any good measured policies in the pro-life arena to even be enacted,” she told CNA April 10.

The bill’s “extraordinarily broad” definition of reproductive health care would create a “fundamental right” to anything defined as such, including abortion.

The Catholic conference said the bill could affect many laws including parental notification or involvement laws, conscience protection laws, and requirements that only licensed physicians perform abortions. The bill could affect laws concerning maternal health, as well as government programs and facilities that pay for or promote childbirth without subsidizing abortion.

Wait now, those all seem like good things to me. But then, I’m not in the business of controlling uteri.

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