Colorado Rights Blog


  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

ACLU joins women’s and patients’ rights group in opposing the sale of Exempla hospitals to Catholic organization

DENVER, CO – In a letter sent today to the Attorney General, the ACLU of Colorado joined with women's rights groups, patient advocates, health care providers and concerned non-profit organizations in opposing the sale of Exempla Health Care (which owns two hospitals: Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette and Lutheran Medical Center in Wheatridge) to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health Systems.

The coalition's concern focuses on the drop in reproductive and end-of-life health care services available to patients at these two previously non-sectarian hospitals. Under Catholic ownership, the hospital staff would be expected to adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives. The Directives prohibit all family planning services, referrals and counseling, including contraception, contraceptive counseling, tubal ligation and vasectomy. Patients with HIV and AIDS will not receive advice on the use of condoms to reduce risks of transmission. The directives also allow providers to ignore patient wishes for end-of-life treatment, contradicting US Supreme Court rulings granting patients the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment.

This scenario is of particular concern to those patients whose insurance plans or Medicaid coverage limits them to these hospitals, effectively preventing them from choosing from all available health care options unless they are able to pay the increased costs of out-of-network care.

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