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HomeLocalColorado State LegislatureUPDATE: Colorado governor signs pro-abortion bills; Becket Fund and Bella file lawsuit

UPDATE: Colorado governor signs pro-abortion bills; Becket Fund and Bella file lawsuit

UPDATE, added April 28: After Bella filed a lawsuit against the State of Colorado April 14 and requested an injunction for legal protection to continue offering the abortion pill reversal procedure during legal proceedings, a Colorado judge denied their request April 28. However, the State has sworn, in court, that it will not prosecute or challenge Bella for providing care, including progesterone, to women seeking abortion pill reversal. The State has committed “not to enforce the law against any licensee” and to act like the law “never existed” until a rulemaking has occurred by the medical, nursing and pharmacy boards.

The original story follows below:

As Colorado takes another major step towards being perhaps the most extreme abortion state in the nation, Bella Health and Wellness and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty are pushing back using legal recourse.

Governor Jared Polis signed three more pro-abortion bills into law April 14, which constitute the so-called “Reproductive Health Equity Act 2.0” bill package. The bills that make up the package are: SB23-190 Prohibiting Deceptive Practices at Anti-Abortion Centers, SB23-189 Increasing Access to Reproductive Health Care Services, and SB23-188 Protecting Health Care Patients, Providers, and Assistors. These bills solidify into law several policies which stand in firm opposition to upholding the dignity of life, most notably banning the abortion pill reversal procedure in Colorado in addition to requiring insurance providers to cover the full cost of abortion and expanding access to “gender-affirming care.”

“This year’s abortion bills, referred to as ‘RHEA 2.0, go even further than making Colorado an abortion destination,” the bishops of Colorado said in a joint letter issued after the signing.They remove ‘choice’ for women to choose life and violate the First Amendment rights of all Coloradans, healthcare providers, employers, and pregnancy centers. 

While most states in America enact laws to protect and affirm the sanctity of life for the unborn, Colorado joins a minority of 12 states in making abortion even more extreme than the federal precedent that was overturned in Roe (1973) and Casey (1992). It causes us profound sadness and distress to know that some Catholic legislators voted for this.”

These newly minted laws won’t go unopposed, however. The Becket Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit law firm, has filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado on behalf of Bella Heath and Wellness, a Colorado-based Catholic healthcare provider offering obstetrics-gynecology care as well as family medicine, pediatrics, and functional medicine. Among other things, the complaint argues that SB-190 specifically violates the First Amendment by singling out healthcare clinics that have a religious obligation to provide life-affirming care to pregnant women who seek out their help.

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“We opened Bella because of our belief that life is a precious gift from God, worthy of protection at all stages,” said Dede Chism, NP, cofounder and CEO at Bella Health and Wellness.“When a woman seeks our help to reverse the effects of the abortion pill, we have a religious obligation to offer every available option for her and her child.”

The Colorado bishops applaud and support this legal effort by Becket and Bella, which affirms the First Amendment rights of pregnancy centers and the ability of medical providers to freely prescribe [Abortion Pill Reversal] treatment as a life-affirming option for women in Colorado,” the bishops stated.

On March 21, in an effort to educate lawmakers about the important work of pregnancy resource centers and the need to leave women the option to choose the Abortion Pill Reversal procedure (APR) if they want it, the Colorado State Capitol hosted the very first Pregnancy Resource Center Day. Over 60 representatives from clinics and centers all around the state gathered at the Capitol to give witness to life, provide educational materials and data and to share their testimonies from the “frontlines,” where they selflessly serve women, men and families, day in and day out.

In addition to the representatives from pregnancy resource centers, which exist to educate women and help them to explore all options when facing an unexpected pregnancy, there were also a few representatives from local adoption agencies, who helped to dispel common myths and pro-abortion objections to adoption as an option.

Earlier this month, scores of pro-life Coloradans gathered on the steps of the Capitol at a Rally For Life on the one-year anniversary of the original Reproductive Health Equity Act, which codified the right to abortion in Colorado and essentially allows for elective abortions at any moment up to birth. This law has made Colorado a “destination” for women seeking abortions, despite the fact that over 60% of Coloradans do not support unrestricted abortions.

While the fight to end or at least restrict abortion seems a perpetual uphill battle in the state of Colorado, the pro-life community continues to show resolve that this fight is far from over, and the Church of Colorado joins in that resolve to continue advocating for women and the sanctity of life.

“We, the Catholic bishops of Colorado, and our three dioceses are committed to do our part to advocate for the sanctity of life, freedom of conscience and expression, and will continue to assist pregnant mothers and families experiencing unexpected pregnancies through the ongoing expansion of medical services, housing, counseling, and resources, both during their pregnancy and after,” the bishops concluded.

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