The Colorado Catholic Conference supports HB22-1289 which extends health care coverage to pregnant women who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid and CHP+ if not for their immigration status. Immigration status should not be a factor as to whether a pregnant mother receives the health care that she requires to have a healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately, however, undocumented immigrants are less likely to receive adequate levels of prenatal care, putting both the mother and child at risk.

Access to quality prenatal and postpartum care is an important determinant to birth outcomes while also supporting the financial security of the family. HB 1289 ensures that undocumented expecting mothers are not left without the coverage they need to have a healthy pregnancy. Doing so will promote maternal health and family stability, and hopefully improve infant mortality rates. Closing this gap in coverage will help ensure that pregnant women and their children are not left behind simply because of their immigration status.

As a major provider of prenatal care – both at Catholic hospitals across our state and at smaller clinics such as Marisol Health and Bella Health and Wellness in Denver—, the Catholic Church is committed to providing expecting mothers with the the prenatal care they need, regardless of their circumstance. Bella provides dignified healthcare for women throughout their lifespan, including providing healthcare to women’s reproductive medical centers such as Marisol Health. One in five patients at Bella is financially vulnerable and one in three pregnant mothers finds herself in need. This bill takes an important step to ensure that neither immigration status nor financial vulnerability will be barriers to pregnant women getting quality health care up to one year postpartum.

The Catholic Conference also supports the provision of the bill that extends full health care coverage to children, regardless of immigration status. This will promote the health of children in low-income families who often go without basic health care at critical points in their development.

HB22-1289 is a life-protecting, dignity-affirming bill. By providing Medicaid and CHP+ funding to mothers and children when they are at their greatest need, this bill upholds the Catholic teaching that each and every human is born with inherent, God-given value.