FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2022
Aurea Bolaños Perea, COLOR
Laura Chapin, Cobalt
Lauren Stephenson, ProgressNow Colorado
Neta Meltzer, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Coalition Calls for Polis to Reaffirm His Support for Reproductive Healthcare Access
Denver, CO — The Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Coalition (CO RJRH) is calling on Gov. Jared Polis to be bold, proud, and vocal about his support of access to reproductive healthcare for Coloradans and all those who seek care in our state. This support necessarily includes removing cost barriers that disproportionately impact low-income Coloradans, rural Coloradans, and communities of color. Coloradans already strongly support reproductive freedom.
In yesterday’s interview with Colorado Matters, when asked about future plans to address current restrictions to abortion access that still exist in Colorado, Gov. Polis said, “You probably get into the situation of: is it a medically required abortion, in that it will jeopardize the life of the mother, or is this something that you’re talking about that’s more elective? So there’s a lot of nuances to that policy. In general, the state doesn’t cover elective procedures. But even if you look at plastic surgery: there’s reconstructive plastic surgery if you’re in an accident, and then there’s such things like a nose job if you want to look better.”
To be clear, the ban on public funding for abortion care impacts hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, and people on Medicaid, which include essential public servants like teachers, firefighters, and transit workers. Like the federal Hyde amendment, the state insurance coverage ban disproportionately harms people of color. Nobody wants to find out that their insurance won’t cover the health care that they need, but in Colorado, an outdated law means that public servants and those with lower incomes are legally banned from using their insurance for abortion care. Access to healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
As Colorado’s leaders in reproductive health care, rights and justice, we can say with certainty: The Supreme Court is overturning Roe v. Wade, and Coloradans deserve elected leaders who are proud, unwavering champions for reproductive health care. Bodily autonomy is a human right — to compare it to a ‘nose job’ – a surgery without the history of politicization or violence from its opponents – does an extreme disservice to our movement, and negates the fundamental and long-term impacts that reproductive care or lack thereof has on a person’s life.
Colorado has been a leader in protecting abortion access, but that access should not depend on economic circumstances. Abortion is never ‘elective.’ It is a fundamental right now established in Colorado law through the Reproductive Health Equity Act signed by the Governor.
Our elected leaders must be proactive with their words and actions, especially when millions of people face the reality of losing their reproductive freedoms across the country. The Reproductive Health Equity Act is a beacon of hope for many other states who want to follow suit and do the same as we have — as our community has. To say there are ‘nuances’ in the policy action we’re hoping to enact does a disservice to the millions of Coloradans who seek a leader that not only speaks up about protecting abortion but will do anything in their power to remove any barriers that stand in the way of self-affirming healthcare.
The Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Coalition (CO RJRH) is a coalition committed to moving policies that ensure that the rights and dignity of every Coloradan are protected. We work to reduce stigma and shift the dynamic of the conversation about reproductive health care and abortion in order to push back on politically motivated attacks, normalize the need for reproductive health care, ensure respect for those who provide and seek abortion, and center the stories and needs of marginalized people and underserved communities.
CO RJRH is composed of ACLU of Colorado, Cobalt Advocates, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, New Era Colorado, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and ProgressNow Colorado.