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  • 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, Planned Parenthood, Challenge Dangerous New Parental Notification Law

ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Challenge Dangerous New Parental Notification Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 1998

BOULDER, CO — The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, along with the ACLU national office and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, filed suit in Boulder District Court today to prevent the enforcement of Colorado’s Parental Notification Act (Amendment 12). If enforced, this law would require physicians, on pain of criminal and civil penalty, to notify a minor's parents and then wait 48 hours before proceeding with an abortion.

The suit, brought on behalf of health care providers throughout the state, claims that the law is unconstitutional and endangers the health and lives of young women. "Families are not perfect and it is not always safe for teens to tell their parents they are pregnant," said Sylvia M. Clark, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. "Forcing minors — without exception — to notify their parents may result in harm. Some teens will be beaten, some will be forced to carry to term and others will be kicked out of their homes. Others may run away, wait until the second trimester, travel to another state, try to self-abort, or attempt suicide."

The law makes no exception in cases of medical emergency, even when the young woman's health is in jeopardy. "By failing to provide an exception for medical emergencies, this law violates the constitution," said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado. "The government cannot prevent doctors from providing emergency medical care that is necessary for young women whose health is at stake. Women should not be forced to gamble with their lives in this way."

"No court in the country has approved a law like this, nor should it," said Louise Melling, Associate Director for the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project. "With no health exception, no judicial bypass alternative, and a definition of abortion that limits access to contraception, Colorado's Parental Notification Act is out of synch with constitutional standards. It endangers the safety of minors in the state."

Plaintiffs in the case include Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Inc., Boulder Valley Women's Health Center, Inc., Peter A. Vargas, M.D., James A. McGregor, M.D., Michael D. Rudnick, M.D., and Aris M. Sophocles, M.D. who are represented by Ed Ramey of Isaacson, Rosenbaum, Woods & Levy, PC, and Kevin Paul of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Warren Hern, M.D. and Boulder Abortion Clinic, also plaintiffs in the action, are represented by Louise Melling and Jennifer Dalven of the ACLU and Mark Silverstein of the ACLU of Colorado.



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