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Women's Reproductive Freedom Being Debated by State Lawmakers

Photo: Sen. Andy Kerr is a co-sponsor of the Reproductive Health Freedom Act. Photo courtesy of:
Photo: Sen. Andy Kerr is a co-sponsor of the Reproductive Health Freedom Act. Photo courtesy of:
April 15, 2014

DENVER - Today, the Colorado state Senate will debate the Reproductive Health Freedom Act (SB175). Supporters say if passed, the landmark legislation would safeguard women's reproductive health decisions and prevent passage of anti-choice laws in the future. Sen. Andy Kerr of Lakewood is co-sponsoring the bill with Jeanne Nicholson of Black Hawk, and said the bill isn't about abortion.

"People want to say that this is all about abortion, but the truth of the matter is that health care includes when you are planning a family, and making sure that you have all the information you need," he said.

Nonpartisan groups including the League of Women Voters support the legislation. Colorado was the first state to remove restrictions on abortion six years before Roe v. Wade was decided. Supporters of this bill say it would give the state the chance to once again lead the nation's agenda to protect women's privacy in their medical decisions.

If the bill passes and is signed into law, government would be prohibited from passing any law interfering with a woman's reproductive health, including banning birth control or mandatory ultrasounds. Kerr said his bill would not change any existing laws on the books in Colorado, and asserted that it comes down to personal freedom.

"That's exactly what we're trying to do here is to make sure that politicians leave our folks alone, in decisions that are best left between a woman and her doctor, decisions that are best left as a family matter," he declared.

Although Roe v. Wade still protects the national legality of abortion, laws passed in recent years have enacted what some call "medically unnecessary" barriers to abortion services, including waiting periods or restrictions on the abortion pill.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO