Pregnancy prevention programs likely will stay, with exclusion of Planned Parenthood

DENVER — A measure to continue two successful teen pregnancy-prevention programs on the Western Slope and expand them statewide appears headed for passage.

That became clear Friday when the House gave preliminary approval to SB177, but only after Rep. Don Coram tacked an amendment onto it to appease some lawmakers.

The amendment requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to provide detailed annual reports to the Joint Budget Committee and several other legislative panels about which providers are awarded contracts to run a program, how many teens each serves and the programs’ failures and successes.

The Montrose Republican said the amendment was necessary because some lawmakers were concerned Planned Parenthood might become one of those providers.

Planned Parenthood operates numerous women’s health clinics around the state, some of which offer abortion services. Some GOP lawmakers were concerned federal money might end up in their hands, saying that would be a violation of laws banning the use of public money to fund abortions. The programs are 90 percent funded by Medicaid.

“The only appeasal part of the amendment was reporting back to the JBC,” Coram said. “It’s a good idea anyway. There’s still some (no votes), but I’ve got enough (yes votes) to get it out.”

The bill still needs a final House vote, which is expected to come Monday. Because of the amendment, the bill will have to return to the Senate for a final vote before it can be sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature.

The Senate approved the measure late last month on a 25–9 vote.

The prevention programs operate in Mesa, Montrose and Delta counties. Because of their success over the past decade, the department hopes to persuade other counties to create their own programs.


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