FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2018
Contact: Stephanie Reichin
E: SReichin@SKDKnick.com
C: 617.549.3745

HB 18-1438 would remove barriers to quality reproductive care – including abortion – and expand access for low-income people, young people, people of color, immigrants, and refugees

Colorado joins growing coalition of states and localities where NIRH is supporting advocates, activists, and elected officials to expand and protect access to reproductive health, rights, and justice in the face of federal attacks

New York, NY – The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) commends Colorado advocates, activists, and elected officials today following the introduction of the Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice Act – landmark legislation to expand access to comprehensive reproductive care – and pledges to push for its passage. The bill, introduced by Representative Daneya Esgar with the support of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) and NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, brings the state to the forefront of a growing roster of states and localities expanding reproductive health, rights, and justice in the face of federal attacks.

Following on the heels of the passage of similar legislation in Oregon last year, HB 18-1438, also known as the Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Act, would remove discriminatory barriers to reproductive health care and establish comprehensive  coverage for Colorado’s residents, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, income, or citizenship status. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require state-regulated health plans to cover a full range of services including abortion, pre-conception care, contraception, STI screening and treatment, prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and breastfeeding support without a deductible, coinsurance or copayment;
  • Extend essential reproductive services to immigrant families by removing the five-year health coverage waiting period and expanding Medicaid’s postpartum coverage from 60 to 180 days;
  • Help address the disproportionately high rates of pregnancy complications among women of color by guaranteeing access to prenatal care and screenings for Coloradans no matter their income, in addition to lengthening Medicaid’s postpartum coverage;
  • Help address disparate rates of late-stage cancer diagnoses and deaths among women of color through greater access to early breast screening

“Colorado today has shown that as the Trump administration continues its unprecedented assault on abortion access nationwide, states are ready to lead the fight for reproductive health, rights, and justice,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive. “The Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Act expands access to essential reproductive health care to help create healthier families and communities across Colorado. NIRH is committed to working with Colorado advocates on an all-out effort to pass this indispensable legislation.”

“We are here to say enough is enough. We will not simply stand by as too many people in our community continue to struggle to get the reproductive healthcare that they need,” said Karla Gonzales Garcia, Policy and Program Director, COLOR. “We are demanding more from our lawmakers. The Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Act is a strong declaration that people should have access to the full range of care regardless of income, immigration status, age or insurance type. Supporting the ability to obtain services has huge health and economic benefits– and it is the right thing to do. Colorado should do more to support women and families, not put up extra roadblocks to their health and wellbeing. This bill is an important step forward.”

“Colorado took the lead nationally more than 50 years ago when we became the first state to allow safe, legal abortion,” said Karen Middleton, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “It’s time for us to be pro-active again and protect reproductive rights and health care access for Colorado women and families.”

“Coloradans are getting bold and proactive to lift barriers and ensure access to reproductive care in the state,” said Destiny Lopez, Co-Director, All* Above All and All* Above All Action Fund. “It’s thrilling to see this rising tide of change across the country.”

NIRH’s support for proactive policies in Colorado is a result of the NIRH and State Innovation Exchange (SiX) partnership to support on-the-ground efforts to advance reproductive freedom in states around the country. The project supports advocates as they identify new proactive reproductive health, rights, and justice policies to pursue, and move policy agendas that advance abortion access, working in partnership with lawmakers.

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About the National Institute for Reproductive Health

The National Institute for Reproductive Health builds power at the state and local level to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.