The Colorado Catholic Conference opposes SB21-016, which strip parental autonomy and may lead to easier access to abortion, especially for minors.

SB 16 removes the requirement that “family planning services” be provided by a certified family planning clinic. The terms “family planning services” and “family-planning-related services” are not clearly defined in the bill and could include abortions.

Furthermore, this bill removes the requirement that a provider obtain parental consent before providing family planning services to a minor. This means that if SB 16 is enacted, pregnant minors could potentially abort their child without parental consent from a “family planning” clinic that may not be certified with a licensed physician on staff.

Colorado health insurance carriers already cover contraception and family planning services, as required under federal law – but federal law does not include abortion. Because SB 16 does not use identical language as the federal law that it seeks to codify into Colorado law, it could be interpreted to have a different scope than existing federal law.

Additionally, Section 3 of SB 16 provides that family planning services are eligible for reimbursement by the state “subject to section 50 of article V” of the Colorado Constitution (which bans state funding of abortions). If abortions were not family planning services, this “subject to” language would be unnecessary.

Furthermore, the Biden administration has recently proposed executive action to allow Title X family planning clinics to provide referrals to abortion providers. Were SB 16 were to be enacted, it is likely that abortion referrals would be considered to be within the scope of family planning services.

The Catholic Church teaches, and human reason based on the findings of science affirms, that human life begins at conception. The Church objects to abortion on the moral principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with respect due to a human person. This is the foundation of the Church’s social doctrine. There has never been or will be a legitimate need to abort a baby in the womb.

The Church also teaches that sex belongs only in marriage, and there is a symbolic bodily unity of man and wife in marital intercourse. Therefore, every form of contraception is a positive effort to destroy the procreative potential of an act that is a sign of married love. This makes contraception as outlined in this bill a violation of the sanctity of life.

The CCC opposes SB 21-016 and calls for Representatives to vote ‘no’ on the bill.