The passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act in the Colorado House, after 24 hours of debate and a brief confrontation between House Minority Leader Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) and Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs), has elicited hyperbolic — and inaccurate — statements from Colorado Republicans.
In a March 11 Facebook post, Rep. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch) wrote, “HB1279 would make Margaret Sanger blush. It guards abortion by law in all cases, for anyone, of any age (without parental consent for parents of young teenage moms), at any time (3rd trimester +), for any reason, and also allows for ‘post-natal’ abortion (meaning babies successfully born alive who can cry, recognize familiar voices, etc.).”
Van Winkle isn’t the only one to echo these sentiments. The March 8 edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette ran an editorial with the headline, “Barbaric new bill allows postnatal ‘abortion’ rights.”
In fact, the text of the Reproductive Health Equity Act does not allow for “postnatal abortions,” which is not a medical term. The bill only uses “postnatal” once, to define the scope of the term “Reproductive health care.” The bill states that reproductive health care, “Includes, but is not limited to, family planning and contraceptive care; abortion care; prenatal, postnatal and delivery care; fertility care; sterilization services; and treatments for sexually transmitted infections and reproductive cancers.”
In context, “postnatal care” refers to the treatment and support for the gestational parent, which has been an area for improvement for health care providers in Colorado that has led lawmakers like Sen. Janet Buckner (D-Aurora) to pass legislation extending Medicaid coverage for moms and new babies for up to 12 months postpartum.
“Postnatal abortion” is another ghoulish rhetorical device invented by abortion opponents, like “preborn child” or “partial birth abortion,” that mischaracterizes abortion and reproductive health care. While the Reproductive Health Equity Act would allow abortions throughout the course of a pregnancy, it is important to note that such procedures in the third trimester of pregnancy account for 1% of all abortions in the United States. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “These abortions receive a disproportionate amount of attention in the news, policy and the law, and discussions on this topic are often fraught with misinformation; for example, intense public discussions have been sparked after several policymakers have theorized about abortions occurring ‘moments before birth’ or even ‘after birth.’ In reality, these scenarios do not occur, nor are they legal, in the U.S. Discussion of this topic is further obscured due to the terms sometimes used to describe abortions later in pregnancy– including ‘late-term,’ ‘post-viability,’ ‘partial birth,’ ‘dismemberment’ and ‘born-alive’ abortions—despite many medical professionals criticizing and opposing their use.”