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There were so many lies in Douglas Groothuis’ recent commentary on abortion I’m not quite sure where to start ("THE PODIUM | Abortion isn't health care — not even close," Feb. 10). It’s insulting to doctors and patients alike.

First of all, abortion is part of health care. Reproductive health care has been challenged across a spectrum of issues. We have seen efforts to restrict access to information (sex education), access to contraception, and — always — attacks on every aspect of access to abortion.

There is nothing more determinative to a person’s short- and long-term health than whether or not they have children. And the decision not to carry a pregnancy to term is a health-care decision the same as any other. Two-thirds of women who have abortions already have children. They know the process of having a child as well as the resources required to tend to that child’s needs, and choose not to — and that decision is theirs and no one else’s. Access to abortion is a fundamental equalizer for women.

Second, pregnancy poses severe risks to a person’s health — and as someone who has actually had a child, I can’t begin to describe the list of impacts, from gestational diabetes to high blood pressure. Serena Williams, one of the most physically fit people on earth, almost died from pregnancy-related complications.

About 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, the worst of any developed nation. The risks are exponentially higher for communities of color. Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women — and this disparity increases with age. An abortion procedure poses far less of a risk to the patient’s health than does giving birth.

Abortion access is a fundamental part of health care and should remain so without shame, stigma or political interference. Restrictions on abortion care are political, not medical — which is why the American College of Obstetrician Gynecologists has routinely opposed the type of bills described in the column.

Coloradans have long believed that the decision about abortion belongs between the pregnant person and their doctor; not with the government. It’s why we were the first state to decriminalize abortion in 1967 — six years before the Roe v. Wade decision. And it’s why this state remains committed to protecting abortion access and has repeatedly rejected abortion bans by overwhelming margins, most recently Proposition 115.

Coloradans have made their views clear repeatedly at the ballot box. They support abortion rights, and Cobalt will always be their advocate.

Karen Middleton

President, Cobalt


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