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March 9, 2023

JOINT RELEASE: Democrats Introduce Legislation to Crack Down on Deceptive Practices by Anti-Abortion Centers

Bill will prohibit deceptive advertising by anti-abortion centers

DENVER, CO – Democrats today introduced legislation sponsored by Senator Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Senator Janice Marchman, D-Loveland, that will protect Coloradans seeking reproductive health care by prohibiting the use of deceptive advertising by anti-abortion centers (AACs).

SB23-190, also sponsored in the House by Rep. Karen McCormick, D-Longmont, and Rep. Elisabeth Epps, D-Denver, further makes prescribing, offering, or facilitating an “medication abortion reversal” unprofessional conduct for licensed or certified health care providers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists describes “medication abortion reversal” as “unproven and unethical,” and says that “claims regarding abortion ‘reversal’ treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards'' of care.

“We’ve made tremendous progress in Colorado to protect reproductive rights, but marginalized communities like people of color, low-income folks, young people, LGBTQIA+ communities, and immigrants still struggle to obtain the care they need - and AACs only make matters worse,” said Winter. “AACs use deceptive advertising practices to lure folks in and steer people away from abortions and other time-sensitive care by not providing them with the full, medically accurate spectrum of options. I’m proud of this legislation to crack down on AACs’ deceptive practices and make reproductive health care more attainable and equitable for all Coloradans.”

“Every patient deserves access to accurate medical information and the ability to make their own informed decisions about their reproductive health care,” said McCormick. “This bill protects Coloradans from anti-abortion clinics that offer misleading, deceptive and inaccurate claims about reproductive health care and ‘medication abortion reversal’ - a dangerous practice that has been proven ineffective. Coloradans shouldn’t have to question whether or not the reproductive health care services they’re receiving are based on facts and science.”

“Anti-abortion centers present themselves as legitimate family planning reproductive health care clinics, but these fake clinics use deceptive advertising to draw in vulnerable people seeking care to harass them with biased and inaccurate information about abortions and contraceptives,” Marchman said. “People who go to these clinics looking for help report being shamed and lied to – the exact opposite of the safe and accurate care we are beholden to protect as elected officials. The Safe Access to Reproductive Health Care Package is a proactive step we can take towards a future where Coloradans’ freedom to access essential and affirming reproductive health care is truly protected.”

“Anti-abortion centers are predatory and often target communities of color, creating substantial barriers for people trying to access reproductive health care. These deceptive practices exacerbate the already disproportionate lack of access to critical health services for lower-income Coloradans,” said Epps. “The anti-abortion movement is spreading dangerous disinformation on abortion and reproductive health care. People should be able to trust their health care provider and anti-abortion clinics stand in the way of safe, factual reproductive health care."

In Colorado, AACs outnumber abortion-providing clinics 51 to 20. Further, 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 to low-income communities.

Anti-abortion centers are the on-the-ground presence of the national anti-abortion movement. Also known as crisis pregnancy centers, anti-abortion counseling centers, or fake clinics, AACs pose 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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