Report: National Anti-Choice Groups Targeting Colorado

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado issued a report yesterday exposing the legislative influence in Colorado of two national anti-choice organizations, Americans United for Life (AUL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), as well as the state-wide network of "crisis pregnancy centers."

During the last legislative session, five bills and one resolution were modeled on AUL draft legislation, and AUL staff testified at numerous committee hearings, according to the report, titled "Against Our Will: How National Anti-Choice Groups are Targeting the Pro-Choice Majority in Colorado."

None of these bills had much chance of becoming law, as pro-choice Democrats control the governor's office and state house.

But two of the proposed laws generated serious media attention: a measure requiring women to have an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abotion and a "fetal personhood" bill giving legal rights to a fetus, potentially threatening abortion rights, and allowing prosecutors to bring murder charges if a fetus is destroyed during criminal acts.

These two bills  were co-sponsored by key Republicans in the state, including the leading GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, State Sen. Tim Neville, and Westminster State Sen., Laura Woods, whose race next year will likely determine control of the state senate.

The AUL legislation was backed in Colorado by ADF, which frequently dispatched senior consel Mike Norton, husband of failed U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton, to the state Capitol to testify, according to the report.

AUL and ADF did not retrun my calls seeking comment for a post I wrote on this topic today for RH Reality Check.

One AUL resolution that cleared the Colorado Senate last session indicated support for government assistance to pregnancy resource centers--though such entities currently receive no state funding.

"They are a national network of generally unlicensed, unregulated anti-choice organizations posing as clinics," the report stated. "Not only do they try to discourage women from getting an abortion with medically-inaccurate information, they use misleading advertising about their intent to get them in the door."

The 60 CPCs in Colorado outnumber abortion providers in the state by approximately three to one, according to the report.

The largest affiliate of CPCs, Care Net, describes itself as welcoming women "facing unplanned pregnancies with life-affirming compassion, hope, and help. Every year about 30,000 people volunteer at these pregnancy centers. And since 2009, there has been a 20 percent growth in the number of Care Net centers providing free ultrasounds to their clients."