Rally to Protect Women's Health takes on fetal murder bill, personhood initiative

Pro-choice activists, legislators, physicians and faith leaders gathered on the west steps of the Capitol Monday in a "Rally to Protect Women's Health."

The event was a spin-off of Pro-Choice Lobby Day, as well as a response to local and federal fetal personhood proposals.

Hosted by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and Protect Families Protect Choice, the rally brought together 200 pro-choice activists opposed to House Bill 1130, which would apply a first degree murder charge to the death of an unborn child -- and potentially establish limits on both contraception and abortion. The bill passed a House committee last week and will return for a final vote later this week before it heads to the Senate.

"We are here...to remind lawmakers that we are holding them accountable for the votes they put out there," said Monica McCafferty, director of marketing and communications for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Activists also expressed concern about a fetal-personhood ballot measure -- proposed Initiative 46 -- expected to appear on the 2012 ballots. Colorado voters defeated similar ballot items in the 2008 and 2010 elections, but the issue may reappear for a third time in November.

Rally speakers included Representatives Crisanta Duran and Andy Kerr, along with Lorena Garcia, the executive director of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR).

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Ryann Dubiel, communications director for COLOR, says the women's health care legislation to which his group objects disproportionately targets minority communities. "Latinos and other marginalized groups are typically already faced with barriers to accessing health care," she says. "By further limiting health care, it is a detriment to our community."

Regarding the fetal-personhood measure, Dubiel says it should be a "personal, private decision" rather than one imposed by Colorado law. "This is really personally offensive to our community and women in general in Colorado," she says. "We've seen that Colorado voters have already supported the issues around having women being able to make decisions ourselves. We don't need to see this again."

More from our Politics archive: "Pro-Choice Lobby Day pits activists against personhood measure and more."

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