DENVER, CO – A bill to expand access to care for survivors of sexual violence passed through the Colorado General Assembly. Currently, only one location in the entire state provides covered abortion care for survivors of sexual violence who use Medicaid. SB21-142 would expand access to licensed providers in local communities throughout the state, allowing survivors to access the care they deserve closer to home.
“Access to care should never depend on where you live, how much money you make, or what type of insurance you have," said Dr. Kristina Tocce, Vice President, Medical Director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. "Excluding survivors of sexual violence who rely on Medicaid from accessing abortion care from the same licensed providers as people using private insurance creates a dangerous, medically-unnecessary barrier to care for patients with low incomes. This especially harms communities of color who are more likely to be insured through Medicaid due to generations of systemic discrimination. Expanding access to care for survivors who use Medicaid is one important step toward make health care access more equitable in our state.”
The existing barrier to care forces survivors in rural communities to drive extreme distances to end a pregnancy resulting from sexual violence, and disproportionately affects survivors of color, survivors with low incomes, rural survivors, and survivors who do not speak English as their first language.
SB21-142 is sponsored by Senators Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and Kerry Donovan (D-Eagle County), and Representatives Dr. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton) and Julie McCluskie (D-Summit County).
For Background: Per the Colorado state constitution, patients using Medicaid are only able to access covered abortion care if they are victims of sexual assault, incest, or their life is endangered. Medicaid-covered abortion care must be performed in a specific facility by a physician. There is only one provider in the entire state that meets this criteria and it is located in the Denver-metro area. Medicaid patients who are survivors of sexual violence have no options for covered abortion care outside the Denver-metro area, forcing many to travel for hours to access care. This creates added burden on survivors of sexual violence.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which includes Colorado, Southern Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming, has been helping individuals make informed decisions for over 100 years.
Since 1916, we have been committed to delivering the highest quality reproductive health care, teaching comprehensive and developmentally appropriate sex education, and working diligently to protect an individual’s right to make their own decisions. Each year nearly 100,000 patients visit our 23 health centers throughout our region.
Call 1.800.230.PLAN for the Planned Parenthood nearest you.