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March 9, 2023

JOINT RELEASE: Democrats Introduce Bill to Increase Access to Reproductive Health Care, Close Access Gaps

Bill will make reproductive health care more accessible and affordable for all

DENVER, CO – Democratic lawmakers in the Colorado General Assembly today introduced new legislation to improve access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and to make reproductive health care more equitable. Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, and Senator Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson County, SB23-189 is part of the Safe Access to Protected Health Care Package of legislation.

Sponsored in the House by Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County, this bill works in several ways to close gaps in accessing reproductive health care, including abortion.

“Every Coloradan deserves to be able to access the critical care they need, but for too many of our neighbors, barriers still exist that prevent them from accessing that care,” Moreno said. “Our legislation will break down those barriers, especially for vulnerable communities, and help ensure all our neighbors are able to get the life-saving care they need to thrive.”

“I paid for my abortion out-of-pocket, but financial barriers hold so many back from receiving the reproductive health care they need,” said Michaelson Jenet. “This bill works to break down accessibility and equity barriers to necessary reproductive health care by reducing surprise billing, allowing eligible patients to use Medicaid’s transportation service to get to and from their abortion care appointments and by filling gaps in insurance coverage. You shouldn’t have to be privileged to receive the health care you need, and this bill makes sure Coloradans, regardless of income level, are supported in accessing abortion services.”  

“Investing in all aspects of sexual and reproductive health care is the right thing to do, both socially and economically,” said Cutter. “It is in our best interest as a society to help prevent unintended pregnancies, improve maternal health and prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections. I am thrilled to be part of legislation that will help build a healthier Colorado for everyone."

“Accessing the health care you need shouldn’t rely upon how much money you have or if you have reliable transportation,” said Garcia. “This bill makes accessing reproductive health care, including abortion and STI treatment, possible for all Coloradans – especially important for communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by high costs and a lack of access to care. This bill will break down systematic barriers rooted in racism and discrimination to help secure reproductive justice for all.” 

SB23-189 would limit surprise medical billing and remove patient cost sharing for reproductive health care services and treatment, including but not limited to sterilization, sexually transmitted infections (STI) and abortion care. 

This bill expands access to contraception and related information for all Coloradans, specifically for minors, by modernizing a 1971 law and aligning it with Colorado’s Public Health code. SB23-189 also makes it possible for patients to utilize Medicaid’s non-emergent medical transportation service (IntelliRide) to get to and from their abortion services, further breaking down accessibility barriers faced by many Colorado Medicaid patients. 

In order to protect patients’ privacy and confidentiality on shared insurance coverage, this bill further creates a state fund that providers can bill directly for their patient’s reproductive health care services. Lastly, SB23-189 prioritizes access to life-saving HIV medication by cutting red tape to allow any authorized provider, not only pharmacists, to offer the treatment.

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