Republicans on a Colorado state Senate committee this week voted to end a contraception program that proponents said had helped to reduce the teen birthrate by 40 percent in recent years.
"Senate Republicans on the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee defeated legislation to continue the Long Acting Reversible Contraception or 'LARC' program, a bipartisan bill to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions," a statement from Democratic state Sen. Mary Hodge noted on Wednesday.
Hodge explained that the teen birthrate had dropped dramatically during the five-year period that the program was privately funded, but the funding had run out.
"The program was effective, helping the teen birth rate in Colorado drop 40 percent from 2009 through 2013," according to the statement. "The abortion rate also dropped 42 percent in that same time period."
“I don’t understand it. We spend an enormous amount of time debating restrictions on access to abortion, including another bill introduced yesterday, but actually preventing unintended pregnancies and abortions is rejected?” Hodge said. “I hope our unintended pregnancy and abortion rates don’t climb again. Colorado families deserve access to family planning services so they can live the lives they choose.”
The Denver Post reported that some members of the Republican caucus had referred to IUDs as an abortifacient, even though this conclusion has been repeatedly rejected by the scientific community.
At the same time, Republicans were pushing a last-minute bill that would require doctors to tell women that their unborn fetus could experience pain before an abortion could legally be performed.
Republican state Rep. Patrick Neville, who sponsored the abortion bill, called it a "safety issue."
"I think women have a right to view an ultrasound, he said.
Critics, however, said that the bill would force doctors to give patients medically inaccurate information about fetal pain.