This legislative session in Colorado was marked by “an unprecedented number of attacks on reproductive health care,” according to a statement released by Planned Parenthood Votes, the political arm of the reproductive-health organization.
The group said its biggest loss was the failure to secure $5 million for a program that succesfully used free long-acting reversible birth control such as intrauterine devices to reduce teen pregnancy in Colorado by 40 percent.
Planned Parenthood Votes plans to hold a bake sale Tuesday in Civic Center Park to raise funds for the IUD program and awareness of the politics that surround its operation. Other progressive and women’s organizations will also join the bake sale, including 9to5 Colorado, ProgressNow Colorado, COLOR and NARAL Pro-Choice.
The groups say that after a tough year at the Statehouse, they’re officially forming a coalition called “Stand With Women or Stand in the Way,” in the year leading up to the 2016 elections.
“Common sense went out the window this year, with an escalation of attempts to infringe on the rights of women and health providers. Even teen pregnancy prevention, counseling and sex education were under fire,” said Cathy Alderman, Planned Parenthood Votes vice-president of public affairs, in the release.
The group also released its legislative scorecard, which paid particular attention to six measures that would have limited abortion access or put anti-abortion language into state law. Those bills, none of which passed, ranged from increasing clinic regulations, requiring a 24-hour waiting period and an ultrasound for patients before they could have an abortion, all the way to a full ban on the procedure.
With abortion at the top of the partisan-issue list, it’s not surprising that most Republicans got low marks on Planned Parenthood Votes’ scorecard. In the Senate, all but Sen. Beth Martinez-Humenik, R-Thornton, and Sen. Ellen Roberts, R- Durango, scored “0,” while 15 of 17 Democrats in that chamber earned 100 percent for supporting Planned Parenthood Votes’ reproductive-health priorities.
The split was somewhat less partisan in the House, where every Democrat earned 100 percent but several Republicans ranked high. Chief among them was Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, with a score of 67 percent. Coram sponsored two teen-pregnancy-reduction measures that Planned Parenthood Votes supported, including the LARC program. Coram is pro-life and pointed to abortion reduction as part of the reason he supports the organization’s teen pregnancy programs.
Though lawmakers did not pony up $5 million in public money to pay for the LARC teen-pregnancy-prevention program, other private funders have since stepped in and offered a year of “bridge” funding until supporters can try again next session.
You can read the full scorecard here.
IUD cookies by Elizabeth Breuer.