DENVER — A proposal modeled after sweeping regulations in Texas that shut down roughly 50 percent of women’s health clinics that provided abortions there was rejected by Colorado’s House health committee Thursday night.
HB 1128, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, would have required strict licensing for clinics through the Colorado department of public health and mandated that all clinics have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles.
“What concerns me is people who live in rural communities where there are not hospitals within quite a large proximity,” said chairwoman Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver. “Under your bill, those folks would be unable to get health care… the clinic would have to close.”
“It’s really not the motive of this specific bill to restrict or deny, it’s just to give overall oversight,” said Neville. “The actual providers might be licensed but the clinics themselves have zero licensing requirements on them now.”
“Emergency room doctors are supposed to be within 20 minutes of the emergency room, that is because an emergency is an emergency. Being 30 miles from a hospital with a doctor who has admitting privileges is not asking too much,” said attorney Michael Norton who testified in support of the measure on behalf of Colorado Family Action.
The health department’s Dr. Larry Wolk testified in opposition to the measure, pointing out that doctors who provide abortions are licensed and that licensing the facilities themselves would be complex due to the broad differences between various kinds of abortion procedures.
“There’s a requirement that clinics must conduct an ultrasound examination. You tell us you’re concerned with women’s health. I’m curious as to how this requirement improves health,” asked Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver. “I don’t understand the point of this other than to somehow guilt a woman into changing her mind.”
After lengthy testimony and pointed questions from the Democratic women on the committee, the measure failed on an 8-5 vote. Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs, joined Democrats in voting against the measure because it fell short of a full abortion ban.
Pro-choice rally photo via RH Colorado.