March 9, 2022
Good afternoon/evening Chairwoman Lontine and members of the Health and Insurance Committee. My name is Dani Newsum. I am the director of strategic partnerships at Cobalt.I am testifying in enthusiastic support of House Bill 22-1279.
This summer my husband and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversar.y Although I was blessed to give birth to our two adult children, I have been pregnant 6 times.I’ve suffered 2 miscarriages, 1 ectopic pregnancy, and the loss of our middle child – Marissa – who died four days after her premature birth in 1990. Like so many women – and in particular Black women – I developed preeclampsia during my three longer-term pregnancies. My blood pressure spiked so dangerously during my pregnancy with Marissa that even bed rest wasn’t an option. To save my life, she was delivered prematurely by emergency C-section. After her death, doctors strongly advised us to avoid another pregnancy. A bit over two years later, we were shocked to learn we were pregnant again. Considering our second child’s death, and the threat pregnancy posed to MY life, we had a decision to make. I had a decision to make.
My point: ultimately what to do about my pregnancy was MY decision. My husband and I worried and talked, and worried some more. I prayed. But one thing we didn’t have to worry about- at that time- was a cabal of anti-abortion politicians denying me my birthright – to decide what was best for me. I was 37, Black, and free, and nobody but me had a legal right to make a decision about my pregnancy, my life, and my family. And so I did. Pilamaya – thank you – to the Great Spirit, my third child is now 28, and like me, an attorney and fervent advocate for abortion rights and access. But now, with the U.S. Supreme Court on track to neuter or overturn the federal right to an abortion, and the never-ending attempts by radical anti-abortionists in Colorado to ban abortion in this state, it is TIME to stand UP: with credit to the immortal Bessie Smith – Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I do – or don’t. Please approve the Reproductive Health Equity Act, and make the right to obtain abortion care, to obtain contraceptives, as well as the right to continue a pregnancy, or refuse contraception, a fundamental right in Colorado.