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Rape victim will continue activism

Jennifer Harper

BRECKENRIDGE ” The attempt to override the veto of the emergency contraception bill failed in the Colorado House of Representatives on Monday, despite the attempts of Breckenridge resident Teresa McMahon.

McMahon, who spoke in support of the override at the Capitol on Friday, became an advocate of the cause after being raped 10 years ago by an acquaintance and becoming pregnant with the rapist’s child.

The bill in question would have required hospitals to give rape survivors information about preventing pregnancy after an assault. The override died on a 35-30 party line vote in the House.

“I knew it was most likely not going to happen, because (the bill) was losing Republican support,” McMahon said.

For 10 years, she remained quiet about her experience, but with the support of her husband Mike, she had a change of heart, deciding to use her tragedy to help others.

McMahon didn’t have the option of emergency contraception 10 years ago and made the painful decision to have an abortion.

Gov. Owens vetoed HB 1042, which would have required all health-care providers in the state, including Catholic hospitals, to offer information and referrals on how to get emergency contraception pills that prevent pregnancy.

McMahon said people were really supportive of her telling her story at the rally.

“The hardest part was afterward a few women came up to me and said they had similar experiences,” she said. “It’s really sad how many of us there are.”

There were people protesting the rally in pink shirts that read “the truth.”

“I think it’s important just to have made a stand on it,” McMahon said.

She added that Rep. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, said she will present the bill again next year. The bill received bipartisan support this year in both the House and Senate before being vetoed on April 5. –

To override his veto, a two-thirds vote was needed in both the House and the Senate, amounting to 44 votes in the House and 24 votes in the Senate. Democrats currently have an 18-17 majority in the Senate and a 35-30 majority in the House.

Taking emergency contraception reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex from 15 percent to 3 percent. The pill prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation a few days until the sperm in the uterus has died.

“Whatever they need me to do I’ll do it,” McMahon said.

Vail Colorado


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