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April 14, 2023

SIGNED! Bill to Protect Reproductive Health Care Patients and Providers, Ensure Access to Critical Care Becomes Law

DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed into law legislation sponsored by Senators Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, and Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Longmont, and Reps. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood, and Brianna Titone, D-Arvada, that establishes protections from criminal prosecutions for receiving, providing, or assisting with legally-protected health care – including abortion and gender-affirming care – ensuring these overreaching interstate actions will not be recognized by the state of Colorado.

SB23-188 also prevents Colorado from recognizing or enforcing civil lawsuits concerning protected health care that are penal in nature or without jurisdiction, and prevents Colorado state employees from participating in or assisting with interstate investigations or divulging information concerning protected health care.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade unleashed a wave of anti-abortion legislation across the country, and it’s putting Coloradans' ability to access critical reproductive and gender-affirming care in jeopardy,” Gonzales said. “Any barrier to health care in our state is unacceptable and puts lives at risk. This new law will protect the people who both seek and provide that care in our state, and will ensure that Coloradans can continue to access the life-saving care they need to thrive.”

“We’ve seen nationwide attacks on our fundamental reproductive freedoms, but here in Colorado, we protect those seeking or performing legal, reproductive health care, including abortion,” said Froelich. “This law codifies important protections for legally protected health care services to make sure our patients, providers, and assistors are shielded from interstate prosecution, retaliation, and imprisonment. We’re making it clear – Colorado will never extradite a provider or patient to another state because Colorado respects bodily autonomy, privacy and the right to make your own medical decisions.” 

"We must do everything we can to protect vital health care professionals in Colorado,” said Jaquez Lewis. “As a pharmacist, if I dispense certain drugs that are considered abortion care medication in repressive states, I could be extradited, charged with homicide and fined hundreds of thousands of dollars. I am proud to champion this new law that ensures health care experts will feel safe making medically necessary decisions."

“Anti-trans bills in other states and other egregious attempts to limit who we are will not stand in the way of our legal right to access gender-affirming and reproductive health care in Colorado,” said Titone. “Our law not only affirms the right to protected health care, but prevents other states from enforcing their regressive anti-abortion and anti-trans laws on people seeking treatment or living in Colorado. Research proves having access to gender-affirming care is validating and life-saving. I’m proud to champion a law that prioritizes patients and providers, protects our privacy and upholds your fundamental rights to reproductive and gender-affirming health care.”

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