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NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Announces Opposition to Amendment 69
For Immediate Release:
June 22, 2016
Karen Middleton, Executive Director
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado
Board of Directors Statement Opposing Amendment 69/Colorado Care
Denver – Tonight, the NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Board of Directors issued the following statement opposing Amendment 69, also known as Colorado Care.
"As the political arm of the pro-choice movement, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado’s mission is to protect abortion access and to oppose any and all attempts to limit it. It is our basic principle that abortion is a critical part of reproductive health care and any measure that would diminish it from overall women’s health cannot be supported.
With Colorado’s state's constitutional ban on public funding for abortion, Amendment 69 would expand access to common healthcare services, but it would be at the expense of access to abortion care. While we strongly support the goal of improved healthcare for all Coloradans, and many of our members individually support the idea of universal health care, Amendment 69 in not providing guarantees to abortion access means it is not truly universal.
Article V, section 50, of the Colorado Constitution – passed by initiative in 1984 – states that "No public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions, to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion [except when necessary to prevent the death of the woman or unborn child where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each].”
This has been repeatedly held not to apply to federal funds such as Medicaid. However, because Colorado Care would be subject to Section 50 as a political subdivision of the state, Colorado Care would be prohibited from providing any abortion services to women not eligible for Medicaid except when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant woman.
This means that presently insured women who have access to abortion services as part of their contracted benefits today, other than when the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother, would lose access to abortion coverage benefits under Amendment 69.
While the Supreme Court has held that it’s unconstitutional for a state to place an "undue burden” on a woman’s access to abortion services, there is no federal constitutional requirement that a state actually fund those services. State restrictions on use of state public funds to provide abortion
services have uniformly been upheld. Unfortunately, Colo. Const. art. V, sec. 50 contains such a restriction, and Amend. 69 does nothing to change that.
Because of its potential to limit abortion access as an integral component of women’s health care, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado opposes Amendment 69. "
The NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation (NPCCF) is a statewide 501c3 organization that is dedicated to supporting and protecting every woman’s right to make informed personal decisions about the full range of reproductive health options. The NPCCF carries out education, advocacy, community organizing, and research so that the public is aware of important reproductive health issues and resources.
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado (NPCC) is the political leader of the pro-choice movement in Colorado. NPCC is a 501c4 organization and has more than 40,000 supporters statewide and works to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive health choices, including preventing unintended pregnancies, bearing healthy children and choosing legal abortion.