Bella Health and Wellness, a Catholic health care clinic in Englewood, is challenging a new abortion law that Gov. Jared Polis signed into law this week.
In the lawsuit, Bella Health argues that the new law targets religious clinics’ duty to help pregnant women in need — a violation they say violates their constitutional rights. Those duties included helping women continue to conceive after they changed their minds after taking mifepristone, a drug used for medical abortions, they said.
“We opened [the lawsuit] Because we believe that life is a precious gift from God and worth protecting at every stage,” said Dede Chism, nurse practitioner and co-founder and CEO of Bella Health and Wellness, in a release. “When a woman seeks When we help to reverse the effects of the abortion pill, we have a religious obligation to provide her and her child with every available option. “
The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, a religious nonprofit law firm based in Washington, D.C., filed the lawsuit, Bella Health and Wellness v Weiser, in a representative clinic Friday in US District Court for the District of Colorado. It named Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, members of the Colorado Board of Medicine, members of the Colorado Board of Nursing and three other Colorado District Attorneys as defendants.
“Whatever the circumstances, we just want to continue serving expectant mothers in need,” said Abby Sinnett, a nurse practitioner and co-founder of Bella Health. “At their most vulnerable, a pregnant woman needs to know that she and her unborn child will be treated with the utmost dignity and care.”
Gov. Polis signed three bills related to reproductive health protections, including Bella’s challenge, into law on the same day the lawsuit was filed.
That law is SB23-190, and it prohibits deception by pregnancy resource centers. Critics say the clinic’s marketing methods are a deliberate attempt to persuade patients not to terminate their pregnancies. Bella’s lawsuit says it is illegal by law for nurses or physicians to assist them or inform them of their choices, thereby “actively preventing women from making that choice” to continue a pregnancy after taking mifepristone.
Some such clinics use the hormone progesterone to try to reverse the effects of mifepristone, which is used to thin the lining of the uterus in medical abortions. The clinic says progesterone thickens the lining and keeps the pregnancy going.
In a signing statement on the new law, Gov. Polis said the law directs state medical boards to make decisions on whether progesterone can be used “off-label” by Oct. 1, 2023, in an attempt to reverse mifes The role of ketones. Clinics are prohibited by law from using progesterone in this way until the committee decides to propose new rules on the matter.
“Standards of medical practice should be left to designated medical professionals in the state, driven by ongoing scientific processes,” Polis said in a statement.
Medication abortion using mifepristone has come under fire recently while the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn the FDA’s approval of the drug.
Weiser joined an amicus brief filed in a lower federal court urging the drug to remain legal.
“Despite overwhelming clinical and research evidence demonstrating the safety and efficacy of mifepristone, the withdrawal of FDA’s approval of mifepristone is unprecedented and will put the lives of countless women at serious risk. This ruling cannot established,” Weiser said in a statement.
In July, Polis signed an executive order prohibiting state agencies from cooperating with out-of-state investigations into reproductive health and abortion decisions.This is after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which guarantees abortion throughout the United States. Since then, several states have enacted new laws restricting abortion, but Colorado has retained abortion rights, and the state’s new law is trying to strengthen those protections.
Polis’ July executive order also expanded protections to provide gender-affirming care to transgender patients who face similar restrictions in the state.
Another bill that Polis signed into law this week would require large employers to cover the total cost of an abortion, except for religious reasons. Because the state constitution prohibits the use of public funds for abortions, public officials are not covered by that law.