On December 7, Colorado changed its list of “critical services” as defined by the pandemic to include “houses of worship,” eliminating the cap on the number of people who can attend religious services in person. As a result, local churches are wasting no time packing people back in to in-person services at the start of the new year. The move to lift the cap on church attendance came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s new conservative majority ruled against the State of New York in a lawsuit in which the governor sought to limit in-person attendance at religious services to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. It also comes just as a new, more communicable strain of Corona virus was discovered in the state, at a time when the state is lifting some restrictions on businesses and as School District 51 announced a return to in-person learning this week — a potent combination that could greatly increase the spread of the deadly virus.
A Facebook group called “Free Mesa County” has been created to encourage people to undermine public health and advance the spread of the novel Coronavirus in Mesa County by openly disobeying Colorado’s mask mandate and demanding full occupancy for indoor venues like churches.
The group’s latest event is an “en masse” maskless shopping event to be held this Friday, January 1, New Year’s Day. The group is urging its followers to go out and swarm local businesses without wearing face masks. Wearing of face masks is currently a requirement in all indoor public places designed to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, which causes Covid-19.
A registered nurse openly begged the Mesa County Commissioners to make a statement telling people they need to wear masks when patronizing local businesses, maintain physical distancing and strictly avoid gatherings, to help rein in the area’s skyrocketing Covid-19 infection rate.
Benita Phillips, R.N., B.S.N., a retired Veterans Administration nurse, spoke to the commissioners in the public comment period of their Monday, 11/9 meeting (video, @ 1:02). Phillips spoke after Mesa County Public Health Department Executive Director Jeff Kuhr told commissioners about the dire situation the county faces from the ongoing uncontrolled spread of the novel Coronavirus. Dr. Kuhr told commissioners that last Saturday the county reached its highest new Covid case count in a single day: 180.
Where is Colorado House District 54?
Matt Soper (R-incumbent)
Soper won the House Representative D-54 office in 2018 under contentious conditions. Published articles reveal that Soper lied to the Secretary of State about where he lived in 2018, listing the address of a rental house his mother owns as his own residence in order to meet the residency requirement to qualify to hold the House District 54 seat. In truth, an unrelated family had lived in the house for years, and after one of the occupants swore in a legal affidavit that Matt Soper did not live in the house with him and his family, Soper had his mother evict the family from the home as retribution for telling the truth publicly about how Soper did not live there.
Offices that bill themselves as “crisis pregnancy centers” or “pregnancy clinics” often are not actual medical clinics, but religiously-based anti-abortion operations that lure in women struggling with unexpected pregnancies. They intentionally withhold information from women about their full complement of reproductive options. Such “clinics” steer women away from abortions and offer “information” that casts abortion as debilitating, dangerous and frightening.
Finding true reproductive health services clinics in Colorado, that is, ones that offer a full range of medically-accurate sexual health information, contraceptives, information and treatments for sexually-transmitted diseases and infections, and all legal and safe reproductive health options can be tricky because in Colorado fake “pregnancy resource” clinics and outnumber real abortion and medical information providers by almost 3 to 1.
The Pregnancy Resource map shows that the two “Pregnancy Centers” in Grand Junction are not real medical clinics.
The “Pregnancy Centers” in Grand Junction offer only self-administered pregnancy tests — which are available without prescription at drug stores — and anti-abortion pregnancy options. The two fake “pregnancy centers” in G.J. are at
- 704 Elm Ave. and
- 930 Main Street in Grand Junction.
- The Delta Pregnancy Resource Center at 523 Dodge St., Delta, CO, is also not a real medical clinic.
The only real medical clinic near Grand Junction that offers medically-accurate sexual and reproductive health information and all applicable services is Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Glenwood Springs, located at 50923 Hwy 6 & 24, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601. Their phone number is (970) 945 – 8631 and their website is here.
Here is a list of the services, treatments and personnel Planned Parenthood offers. Note that care is not limited to women:
- Abortions, pre- and post-abortion patient education, post-abortion follow-up exams, referrals for other abortion services (as needed), ultrasounds.
- Birth control;
- Emergency contraception (morning-after pill);
- Pregnancy testing and services (adoption referrals, fertility awareness education, post-partum exams);
- STD testing, treatment, and vaccination;
- HIV testing;
- Women’s healthcare (breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, hormone replacement therapy, mammogram referrals, menopause testing and treatment, pap test,
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) testing and treatment, vaginal infection testing and treatment);
- Men’s healthcare (colon cancer screening, jock itch exam and treatment, testicular and prostate cancer screening, urinary tract infection (UTI) testing and treatment);
- General healthcare (anemia testing, cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, high blood pressure screening, thyroid screening, smoking cessation).
- Certified Medical Personnel
- Medical doctors and registered nurses
You can also get free answers to any sexual health questions from trained sexual health educators by chat online or text by texting “PPNOW” to 774636 (PPINFO).
If you’re less than 10 weeks pregnant, you can also get a telemedicine abortion using the abortion pill from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. For information click here.
Governor Jared Polis issued an order effective at midnight last night mandating every Colorado citizen over 10 years of age to wear face masks when doing business in public indoor places. The order says that no business serving the public in a public indoor space “may provide service to a customer, or allow a customer to enter or move within that indoor space, unless the customer is wearing a face covering.”
Seeking to quell partisan bickering over the order, Polis said,
“The virus doesn’t care what political party you belong to. The virus doesn’t care what belief system you have. The virus doesn’t care. The virus is the virus and it is a threat to every single one of us.”
Under the conditions immediately predating the mask rule, if nothing was done, Colorado was on a trajectory to exceed the number of intensive care beds available by September.
In a new documentary released Friday, May 22, Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe V. Wade, reveals that she was paid by anti-abortion factions to switch her position from supporting to opposing abortion rights for women.
If you are pregnant and looking for an abortion in Mesa County, you may find that information about abortion services is very hard to find here. Local obstetrical practices don’t mention abortion on their websites and may not even offer abortion services. The “Pregnancy Center” is one of many fake health clinics that lure women by promising free services, like pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and “counseling,” but their real purpose is to shame and guilt women out of getting abortions. The closest provider of safe medical abortions is 90 miles away in Glenwood Springs.
But don’t despair.
Thanks to the internet, there are now options for women to access abortion services no matter where they are.
Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland (R) has been posting misleading information about Coronavirus on her campaign Facebook page that is linked to the nutty beliefs of the conspiracy theory QAnon, and that contradict the messaging of public health authorities telling people what they need to do to stay safe and minimize spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
The Daily Sentinel published results of a non-scientific online poll today asking readers for their opinions of the ongoing stay-at-home order due to the Coronavirus pandemic. About 72 percent of people said they agree with the order and are obeying it. Twenty one percent say they’re following the stay-at-home order even though they think it’s “over the top,” and 7 percent say they are not following the order at all because they think it’s “too extreme” or “unnecessary.”
This means about a third of people in our area aren’t really grasping the seriousness of this pandemic.
Dr. Elvi Whiteford of Appleton Clinics has started a Facebook page called “Medical Providers Keeping GJ Educated and Supported,” where people can go to get authoritative answers to questions about the COVID-19 virus and efforts to cope with the pandemic.
Dr. Whiteford is a family medicine doctor who was born and raised in Grand Junction. She got her M.D. from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 2000 and has practiced here since 2008. She set up the Facebook page as an educational forum where people can get the most accurate, timely and factual medical updates on COVID-19. The page does not seek donations or take requests for care, but rather is just a place to get authoritative, science-based answers to questions and share the most up to date information possible.
Here is an example of the kind of questions Dr. Whiteford is getting, and the answers she is giving:
On February 6, 2020 House Rep. Scott Tipton voted in favor of cutting funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), federal programs that cover poor children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled people with health insurance who could not otherwise afford it.
Taking away health insurance
More than one million children have lost Medicaid and CHIP health insurance coverage under President Trump, and over 750,000 adults have lost Medicaid coverage. Trump’s latest budget calls for even more cuts to Medicaid and the and Affordable Care Act, and it includes deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare, while extending tax cuts for wealthy people, despite his promise he would not touch Social Security or Medicare.
The Colorado Reproductive Health Rights and Justice Coalition will be putting on a Reproductive Rights Roadshow at Colorado Mesa University on Friday, October 4 from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. in Room 221 of the University Center building, on the 2nd floor attached to the parking garage. Appetizers will be served!
The Roadshow is traveling around the state to inform Colorado citizens about what is happening in the legislature and what’s being done in our community to preserve and strengthen reproductive rights and access to abortion care. The Coalition also wants to listen to you and find out what issues are of greatest concern to people here in our community.
The Coalition is an umbrella group comprised of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU-CO), New Era Colorado, ProgressNow Colorado and Soul2Soul Sisters.
Former Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, who has already had two terms in the recent past and is now running for a third term, has given Mesa County voters plenty of reasons not to elect her again, but here’s another one, and get ready. This one is kind of creepy.
In 2008, Rowland promoted a program that paid drug-addicted women $300 to get sterilized so they couldn’t reproduce. The program, called Project Prevention, targeted its advertising mainly at women, and 37% of the women who had been sterilized under the program were African-American. In 2009, African-Americans made up just 12.4% of the U.S. population.
Delta County School District, are you listening?
Colorado State Senator Don Coram, a Republican who represents Montrose and Ouray counties, is a sponsor of HB19-1032, “Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education,” a bill to prohibit sex ed instruction in K-12 public schools from “explicitly or implicitly teaching or endorsing religious ideology or sectarian tenets or doctrines, using shame-based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools, employing gender norms or gender stereotypes, or excluding the relational or sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals.”
The bill would appropriate least $1 million annually for a grant program to carry out the new law, and it would give highest priority for the grant funds to rural public schools.
Why is this bill needed? Because of the Delta County School District.
Need a safe abortion even though it’s hard to get one in or around Grand Junction?
Now there’s an answer, if you’re healthy and less than 9 weeks pregnant.
AidAccess is a private initiative by a committed team of medical doctors and longterm abortion rights activists. The website is supported by a team of English and Spanish-speaking help-desk members. The goal of AidAccess.org is to assist women who don’t have access to locally available abortion services.
AidAccess was established a decade or so ago by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, acting on the conviction that laws do not control whether or not abortions happen, the only thing laws can control is whether or not they happen safely.
Aid Access helps arrange for abortion pills to be shipped to patients around the world, and last October, as a result of growing requests and tightening abortion laws, the organization started arranging for the shipping of abortion pills to the United States.
Community Hospital issued a press release today announcing it has ended discussions to merge with Centura Health, a religious hospital management company. Community Hospital’s board of trustees has decided to stay secular and independent for now.
Here is the hospital’s statement:
“After thoughtful consideration and thorough due diligence, Centura Health and Community Hospital have agreed to discontinue merger discussions. Although this was a difficult decision and one the Community Hospital Board of Trustees (BOT) did not take lightly, the board has made the decision to remain independent. The board wants to do what is best for the hospital and the community. The entire BOT and leadership team at Community Hospital were impressed with the Centura Health organization and the great work they are doing across the state and region. Likewise, Centura leadership respects the tremendous growth and physician partnerships that have been developed by the team at Community Hospital. Both parties remain open to discussing future partnership opportunities.”
A previous blog discussed why Mesa County residents should be glad to have an alternative to a Catholic hospital in the valley and why it is so important to people’s health to have a secular hospital option available for medical care. But our valley’s one non-religious hospital option may disappear, and soon.
In October 2018, Community Hospital and Centura Health Network signed a letter of intent to merge. It provided each party with a 120 day-long window to evaluate the deal and decide whether or not to go ahead and finalize it.
Those 120 days are almost up, and a final decision on the merger must be made by February 10th.