As Colorado becomes abortion haven, advocates target crisis pregnancy centers |

As Colorado becomes abortion haven, advocates target crisis pregnancy centers

Seth Klamann
The Denver Post
Leticia Lopez Higdon, left, director of client operations, Lori Ann Satriano Arfsten, director of communications and community development, and Laura Johnson, RN, BAN, right, nurse manager, gather in the offices of Alternatives Pregnancy Center on January 26, 2023, in Denver, and together describe their faith-based services as a safe and trusted environment for women facing pregnancy.
Kathryn Scott/Special to The Denver Post

Alternatives Pregnancy Center sits next to a King Soopers grocery store in Denver, tucked in a maze of hallways in a blocky office building. A bowl of candy greets visitors. A row of portraits of mothers and their children cover a wall in a corner office. Other than a room with an ultrasound machine and row of fetus figurines, the office is largely unremarkable.

But the pregnancy center and others like it represents contested outposts in the escalating fight over abortion access in Colorado and the United States. The facilities — known as crisis pregnancy centers — are staunchly anti-abortion and offer limited medical services and family counseling, with the intent of steering women away from terminating their pregnancies. There are dozens of the facilities in Colorado, more than doubling the number of abortion providers.

Critics say the organizations  — which they call anti-abortion centers — use deceptive advertising and promote the use of unproven medical treatments. A coalition of abortion access groups, together with Democrats in the Colorado statehouse, are preparing a landmark bill to regulate how the centers operate and confront those concerns.

The facilities have long been features of the abortion debate. Blue states like California and Connecticut have sought to regulate their advertising practices, while red states like Ohio provide them direct funding or elevate some of their medical claims. After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision — which overruled Roe v. Wade — was leaked in May 2022, a number of facilities, including at least one in Colorado, were vandalized.

The Dobbs decision has escalated Colorado’s status as a sanctuary state for abortion and prompted a renewed focus on the centers, as more women travel here for services unavailable in their home state.

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