Opinion | Susan Knopf: Safe choices | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Safe choices

This week pro-choice activists are asking you to call your state representatives and show support for the Safe Access to Protected Health Care package: SB23-190, SB23-189, SB23-188.

Our local representative, House Speaker Julie McCluskie, supports the package “because it prioritizes patients and providers, stops deceptive advertising by anti-abortion centers, and closes access gaps related to sexually transmitted infections and reproductive health care.”

Senate Bill 23-190 “makes it a deceptive trade practice for a person to make or disseminate to the public any advertisement that indicates, directly or indirectly, that the person provides abortions, emergency contraceptives, or referrals for abortions or emergency contraceptives when the person knows or reasonably should have known that the person does not provide those specific services.”

The bill is supposed to target centers like the one that’s in Dillon. Last time I called the Women’s Resource Center of the Rockies, no medically trained staff was available. The center advertises that it offers free pregnancy testing and free ultra sound screenings.

Progress Now, a member of a reproductive justice coalition, asserts Women’s Resource Center of the Rockies is an anti-abortion center.

Cobalt, Colorado’s pro-choice advocacy organization, says on its website these “women’s health centers  – attempt to steer pregnant people away from receiving care such as abortions. The centers are nonprofit organizations that advertise health care such a free pregnancy tests, (and)…ultrasounds. However, the centers do not have to abide by a medical code of ethics and do not offer abortion services, including miscarriage treatment.”

Pro-choice activists say those working in these centers try to persuade people to wait to get a free ultrasound. They hope the visualization will dissuade abortion seekers, or possibly run out the clock on a safe, early abortion.

Senate Bill 23-189 funds access to reproductive health care. The bill allocates more than $1 million.

Senate Bill 23-188 is designed to protect health care providers from malicious persecution for providing health care services, including abortion. Professionals are being threatened with the loss of their jobs, and their credentials. This bill protects them.

McCluskie says, “This historic bill package brings us closer to achieving reproductive freedom for all and I will always support and defend Coloradans’ fundamental reproductive freedoms.”

The Missouri legislature passed a law to criminally prosecute health care providers in other states for performing abortions for Missouri citizens. Other states are also pursuing their citizens and out-of-state health care providers.

Planned Parenthood spokesman Mark Teter told 9News, “When one of our nearby states bans abortion, we immediately see an increase in patients who need help. Any person in Wyoming who needs access to abortion care will need to leave the state in order to access that care. We’ve seen an enormous increase in out-of-state patients since the Dobbs decision.”

Karen Middleton, the Cobalt director, concurs. She wrote me, “Colorado Ob-Gyn physicians have said publicly that the increased need for care is beyond their current capacity and is physically and mentally unsustainable, leading to burnout in the profession and ‘major delays’ in patient treatment.”

In my column on Jan. 27, I detailed how much other states anti-choice laws are costing us money.

The New York Times is tracking the legal battle to strip women of critical health care choices. The Times reports 14 states have banned abortion and about half the states are expected to severely restrict abortion.

In Amarillo, Texas, last week, a federal judge heard arguments to make mifepristone illegal. It is one of the two drugs used in medication abortion — the methodology used for more than half of the abortions in the U.S. The drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for more than 20 years, and is considered safer than Tylenol. Wyoming’s governor just signed a bill making this medication illegal.

Five Texas women and two Texas doctors are suing the state for endangering lives in medical emergency.

The right wing is at war with everyone who values life. The concept that the possibility of an unborn life is more valuable than a living person is preposterous and dehumanizing. In Judaism, life begins at birth, not in the womb. The Christian right is trying to establish their version of their faith as a national religion. Passing the Safe Access to Protected Health Care package is something we can do to protect the health care choices and Constitutional rights of Coloradans.

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