A Catholic healthcare clinic was in federal court today challenging a Colorado law that bans giving women a natural hormone to reverse the effects of the abortion pill.
In Bella Health and Wellness v. Weiser, Colorado agreed earlier this year not to enforce the law until three state licensing boards had implemented the regulations required by the statute. Now that these regulations have been issued—leaving Bella and its patients in jeopardy—Bella once again asked the court to protect its life-saving ministry to help women discontinue unwanted abortions.
Founded by Catholic mother and daughter nurse practitioners Dede Chism and Abby Sinnett, Bella offers life-affirming, dignified healthcare to men, women, and children. Like healthcare clinics across the nation, Bella offers progesterone—a naturally occurring hormone that is essential to the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy—to women at risk of miscarriage.
In some cases, progesterone has also been shown to maintain healthy pregnancies when women take the first drug in the two-step abortion pill process but then change their minds and decide to continue their pregnancies. Consistent with its religious mission to uphold the dignity of every life, Bella also offers progesterone to these women who seek help to keep their unborn children after taking the first abortion pill.
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“We founded Bella because we believe that the miracle of life is worth protecting at every stage and in every circumstance,” said Dede Chism and Abby Sinnett, cofounders of Bella Health and Wellness. “Under our care, mothers who choose life have access to a safe treatment that increases the chances they will give birth to healthy babies. I pray that we will be able to continue this life-saving ministry to women who come to us in need of help.”
Earlier this year, Colorado passed a law that targets pro-life clinics like Bella by making it unprofessional conduct to offer women progesterone when seeking to reverse the effects of the abortion pill. Bella asked a federal court to block the law and protect its ability to help pregnant women in need of life-saving care. In April, Colorado agreed to put the law on hold until three state medical boards weighed in on the safety of abortion pill reversal. During that time, Bella successfully helped multiple women continue their pregnancies, including one who recently gave birth to a healthy baby. However, despite evidence of progesterone’s safety and efficacy, the state has still banned it. As a result, providing progesterone to women who change their minds about abortion remains unprofessional conduct in Colorado—and Bella’s providers run the risk of losing their medical licenses and suffering crippling fines if they continue their ministry to women who seek their help.
“Colorado is forcing women to continue unwanted abortions and punishing the doctors who help them safely continue their pregnancies,” said Rebekah Ricketts, counsel at Becket. “It is outrageous and wrong for Colorado to deprive these women of their ability to choose life, and to ban faith-based clinics like Bella from serving them.”
A decision from the court is expected in the coming weeks.