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Lawmakers discuss govt. role in reproductive decisions

State lawmakers discuss reproductive rights

DENVER, Colo. - State lawmakers discussed a bill Tuesday regarding the government's role in a person's reproductive rights decisions.

The bill, SB 175, or the Reproductive Health Freedom Act, prohibits state and local governments from denying or interfering with a person's reproductive health care decisions. It includes decisions having to do with contraception and abortion.

"It underlines and makes sure that we are protecting freedom and privacy around what should be a decision between a woman and her doctor," said State Senator Andy Kerr (D), who cosponsored the bill.

SB175 is getting support from groups like NARAL Pro-Choice.

"It actually puts into law explicitly the protection that you are free to make that decision without that kind of interference," NARAL Pro-Choice Executive Director Karen Middleton said.

The bill would also prevent governments from interfering with information on "current, evidence-based scientific data and medical consensus."

Religious leaders oppose the proposal. The Catholic bishops of Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs signed a letter asking senators to vote against the bill. They call it  an "over-broad attempt to deny women informed consent on the consequences of abortion, sterilization, and other 'health decisions' that can adversely affect a woman's freedom and dignity."

"It's not for women's health," said Michele Mason, who leads 40 Days for Life. "The way it is worded is totally different than what it really is, and it's just wrong."

Mason and other opponents met at the state Capitol Tuesday to pray for the bill to be rejected.

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