Reproductive health bill SB175 faces scrutiny after Denver's archbishop asks Colorado to oppose it

DENVER - A Colorado reproductive health bill is facing scrutiny after the archbishop of Denver sent out a letter asking people to take action against it.

Colorado Senate Bill 175, which will go for a floor debate Tuesday, would make it illegal for the state or local government to get in the way of reproductive health care.

However, in the letter dated April 11, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said, "This over-reaching piece of legislation would essentially shut down any attempt to pass life-affirming legislation in Colorado ever again. More than that, it enshrines the 'right to abortion' into Colorado law."


Aquila asked the people of Colorado to spend 10 minutes in prayer, and then contact their senators to ask them to oppose SB175.     

State senators Jeanne Nicholson, D-Black Hawk, and Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, are sponsors of the one paragraph bill.

"I think it's fair to call it the freedom to make your own decisions about your reproductive health bill," said Nicholson.

She said it would keep Colorado from enacting any law that "interferes with an individual's reproductive health care decisions."

"It underlines and makes sure that we are protecting the freedom and the privacy around what should be a decision between a woman and her doctor," said Kerr.

Jennifer Kraska is the executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, which deals with public policy on behalf of the Catholic Church. She said the bill would prohibit the state or any unit of local government from every being able to pass good common sense legislation regarding, not only abortion, but anything as defined as reproductive health care in the bill.

"There's also a question of whether it takes away the ability of current laws to stay in place, such as our parental notification law," said Kraska.

If passed, the bill could be repealed by future lawmakers, making it more ceremonial than binding.

"It doesn't create a crime and it doesn't cost money. What's the point of making this into law?" asked 7NEWS Reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"For people who are questioning whether or not this law is needed, I think you need to go back and question whether the Bill of Rights was needed with the U.S. Constitution," replied Kerr. "This bill is very clear, it says that Colorado, the government of Colorado, the politicians of Colorado, will not do anything to interfere with a person's freedom and privacy when it comes to health care."

"I think that the reason they are concerned is about things that are not in this bill," said Nicholson. "I think this bill is very clear that it is clearly about individuals making their own decisions about their reproductive health without government interference."

Kraska said the big issue is how broad and ambiguous it is.

"The bill definitely needs a lot more clarity," she said.

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