The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by our guest columnists do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of this publication.
Pediatrician / State Representative for House District 31.
As the daughter of immigrant parents who moved to Denver from a small town in Mexico in the 70s, I’ve called Colorado home my entire life. I love the Colorado way of life, the sense of independence coupled with the small-town feel of community and compassion for our neighbors.
Even when I left for a short time to do my pediatric residency in New Mexico, I always knew I would return to practice medicine in Colorado. I’ve been part of pediatric practice in Adams County since 2012, and nothing brings me greater joy than caring for the families in my community.
Being a doctor means I’ve sworn an oath to provide the best care for my patients — to provide them with all of the medically appropriate options so they can make informed decisions that are right for them.
Once again in Colorado, healthcare is under attack. In this election, we’re being asked to vote on a ballot measure that would ban abortion and deny patients essential healthcare. Proposition 115 would force a woman to continue a pregnancy with no exceptions for health or individual circumstances — even in cases of rape, incest, risks to their health, or a lethal fetal diagnosis.
This ban puts politics between doctors and our patients. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach to medical care — and there is nothing about medicine that is one-size-fits-all. Patients are unique and every pregnancy is different and requires individualized care.
This ban violates the oath that I, and every other doctor, take when we pursue a career in medicine. Abortion care is healthcare. This ban will lead to patient harm. It criminalizes doctors for providing essential healthcare to our patients.
As a pediatrician who also serves in the state legislature, I don’t take lightly the power that elected officials have over a person’s ability to get quality, affordable health care. I take seriously the fact that health care is a fundamental human right, and believe that part of my job as a legislator is to do everything I can to enable the people of Colorado to make the health care decisions that are best for them and their family.
Politicians should not be in the business of making personal health care decisions for a woman and her family — and they certainly shouldn’t be threatening doctors with fines and loss of their license for providing quality healthcare. Our laws should support and safeguard a woman’s health and ensure that she has access to safe medical care in her community, provided without stigma.
It takes hubris to think that any one of us — legislators or not — should be making personal, intimate health care decisions for anyone. It is simply not the role of elected officials to interfere or impose our beliefs; our job is to promote people’s health and well-being. Here in Colorado, we aim to do just that.
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