Colo. Dems Back Away From Reproductive Health Freedom Act

April 17, 2014 — Colorado Senate Democrats on Wednesday said they will no longer pursue a bill (SB 175) that would block government entities from enacting policies that deny or interfere with reproductive health care, the Denver Post reports (Lee, Denver Post, 4/17).

The measure, known as the Reproductive Health Freedom Act, passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week in a 4-3 vote. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

The bill would have barred state and local governments from restricting individuals' reproductive health decisions or their access to evidence-based information on reproductive health. Although Democrats currently control both chambers of the state Legislature and the governorship, the bill's aim was to prevent future attacks on reproductive rights that have taken place in other, Republican-led states (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/14).

Reasons Behind Change

State Senate Democrats changed course on the bill amid opposition from Republicans and religious groups.

State Sen. Andy Kerr (D), the bill's sponsor, killed the measure without floor debate, the Post reports. "It became obvious that D.C.-style politics were going to be happening in the last three weeks of session here," he said, adding, "Delay and filibustering tactics were going to become the absolute rule of the day."

State Sen. Bernie Herpin (R) said the measure was "a solution in search of a problem," adding, "There is no one, no evidence, that has said there's a denial of things like contraception to women in Colorado" (Denver Post, 4/17).