- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 5, 2017

DENVER (AP) - Colorado’s Republican state lawmakers are sending mixed messages on abortion and reproductive rights.

A GOP panel in the state Senate approved a measure Wednesday to require waiting periods for women seeking abortions.

The bill would also require doctors to tell women they face long-term psychological risks from having an abortion.

Sponsoring Republicans argued that the measure is not a broadside attack on abortion.

“This is a bill to require that women who are considering an abortion are given full information, or at least access to information, and are given time to process that information before deciding whether to move ahead or not,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Rep. Kevin Lundberg.

But the same panel embraced another bill to make it easier for women to get contraceptives. The Republican committee voted 4-1 to require insurers to give women a full 12 months’ supply of the contraceptive pills after an initial three-month checkup.

The bills do not directly conflict each other. But they send mixed messages about a topic that has long divided the Colorado GOP.

Some Republicans strongly oppose abortion and want to limit access. Others consider abortion settled law and say it hurts the party to talk about the topic.

The divide was on full display Wednesday.

Republican Sen. Vicki Marble said she opposed the contraceptives bill only because many insurers provide a years’ supply of birth control pills already, making the requirement unnecessary.

A short time later, Marble argued in favor of the required waiting periods for abortions and to make it easier for women to see ultrasound images before deciding whether to have an abortion.

“A woman can opt out of this if she chooses,” Marble said.

The contraceptives bill has already passed the Democratic House and appears likely to clear the Senate and head to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who has not said whether he will sign it.

The abortion bill, however, faces long odds for passage.

Republicans have a single seat majority in the Senate. Even if the bill clears the GOP chamber, it would face rejection in the Democratic House.

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Kristen Wyatt can be reached at https://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt

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