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March 30, 2023

House Advances Bill to Prohibit Deceptive Practices at Anti-Abortion Centers

SB23-190 would protect patients by prohibiting deceptive advertising by anti-abortion centers and unproven so-called “medication abortion reversal”

DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation on a preliminary vote to protect those seeking reproductive health care by prohibiting the use of deceptive advertising by anti-abortion centers (AACs). Part of the Safe Access to Protected Health Care legislative package, SB23-190 cracks down on AACs, also known as crisis pregnancy centers, posing as comprehensive reproductive health care clinics that mislead patients seeking abortion care.

"This legislation will protect patients seeking reproductive health care from deceitful, misleading practices touted by anti-abortion centers,” said Rep. Karen McCormick, D-Longmont. “AACs are known to use deceptive advertising to lure patients in under the guise that they offer the full range of reproductive health care when they do not. These practices put patients at risk, limit their access to care and mislead patients about the so-called ‘medication abortion reversal’ which is medically unethical and unproven. Patients across Colorado deserve access to honest, factual medical information so they can make informed decisions about their own reproductive health care.”   

“In Colorado, we support your fundamental right to the full scope of reproductive health care, including abortion,” said Rep. Elisabeth Epps, D-Denver. “Abortion is legal, but legality doesn’t equal equitable access. Our most marginalized communities are disproportionately targeted by the deceptive advertising practices some anti-abortion centers showcase. There is no room for misinformation or deception when you are seeking medical care, and our legislation makes sure AACs are open and honest about the type of care they provide.”

Prohibiting Deceptive Practices at Anti-Abortion Centers: SB23-190 would make it a deceptive trade practice to share information or advertise providing abortion care, emergency contraceptives or for referrals of either of these services when the service is not actually provided. 

This bill also clarifies that the administration of a “medical abortion reversal” by a health care profession is unprofessional and will be subject to discipline. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists describes “medication abortion reversal” as “unproven and unethical,” and explains that “claims regarding abortion ‘reversal’ treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards'' of care.

Earlier this legislative session, Colorado Democrats on the House Health and Insurance Committee defeated HB23-1150 which would have required physicians and the Colorado  Department of Public Health and Environment to spread and maintain information about the so-called “medication abortion reversal”. 

AACs particularly target locations that may lack a comprehensive clinic, often posting Spanish-language billboards in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations and offering free services, such as ultrasounds and counseling, to low-income communities.

In Colorado, AACs outnumber abortion-providing clinics 51 to 20. Anti-abortion centers are the on-the-ground presence of the national anti-abortion movement, posing as comprehensive reproductive health care clinics to intercept patients seeking abortion care, provide false information, and prevent people from seeking abortions.

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