Real plans for a vibrant, affordable, safe Denver:
Reproductive Rights and Quality, Affordable Child Care
A Denver for all is a Denver that protects everyone’s rights and guarantees equal access to the workforce. We know the burden of child care still falls disproportionately on women, and that having an equal chance to find work requires accessible and affordable child care. And sadly, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, it meant that my daughter could grow up with fewer rights than my mother. As Mayor, I will ensure that Denver is a city where everyone can be a full and equal participant in our community.
1. As Mayor of Denver, I will continue to protect abortion providers and patients. We’ll do this in several ways:
- Protecting Patients Who Seek Care in Denver.
- I will vigorously implement important reproductive health legislation just enacted by the state, SB 23-188, to ensure that city employees are not forced to cooperate in out-of-state proceedings that seek to impose liability or professional sanctions for abortion care. I’ll also partner with the state to ensure that the number of reproductive health providers in Denver increases to meet the urgency of the current moment.
- Protecting Health Care Providers
- A health center should be a place to receive health care with respect and support. But in recent years, reports of stalking involving health center staff increased 600 percent from 2018 to 2021.1 As Mayor, I will enforce existing ordinances covering private property and public access and work to pass a safety ordinance to protect health centers and the providers who work there.
- Banning Discrimination on Reproductive Health Care Decisions
- While many state and federal laws offer protection against reproductive health discrimination, narrow and often erroneous court rulings have created loopholes in the existing laws that leave employees without a legal remedy when they face discrimination for their reproductive health decisions.2 You shouldn’t face discrimination for accessing basic health care. That’s why we’ll pass an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect against employment and housing discrimination based on reproductive health care decisions. Enshrining these local protections will build on the incredible work last year by reproductive justice and reproductive health organizations to pass the Reproductive Health Equity Act.
- Connecting More People to Services
- If care is too hard to find or impossible to afford, then it’s not really accessible. That’s why I will direct the Public Health Department to build a new public health portal with information on how to access abortion and reproductive health care. Making this information easily accessible online will better connect Denverites to their health care options.3
2. I’ll expand access to childcare. Women in Denver still earn an average of just 84 cents for every dollar earned by men.4 Additionally, 23% of pregnant women have considered leaving their jobs because their employer failed to offer reasonable accommodations.5 As Mayor, I’ll work to expand access to childcare to make sure we’re supporting families.
- Expand Child Care to More Workplaces
- As I laid out in my comprehensive plan for equity, I will provide incentives for more workplaces to offer child care onsite. This will increase the supply and convenience of child care while simultaneously lowering the cost.
- Turn Empty Buildings into Child Care Centers
- I will work to convert empty commercial space to child-care facilities, capitalizing on the half-empty buildings downtown to help child care facilities afford high rent.6
- Consider Child Care In Zoning Decisions
- I will ensure that when the City makes zoning changes in certain neighborhoods, it considers the availability of child care—and considers whether to require space for child care centers in those neighborhoods.
- Make More People Eligible for Child Care Assistance
- I will work with the State to raise the income limits for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) and to create a gradual phase-out of benefits rather than the harsh income-level cliff that kicks too many people off the program.
- Train More Child Care Providers
- Upskill Denver, the program proposed in my workforce plan, will train over 100 child care workers to address the workforce shortage. I’ll also tap federal and state dollars to ensure our early child workforce is paid a decent wage.
- Expand After School and Summer School Options
- The need for child care isn’t confined just to school hours. In my equity plan, I discussed the benefits of an after school and summer school enrichment program for lower income students that I helped design. This program will give students access to free programs in the arts, athletics, and science. As Mayor, I will expand this program, which will have the added benefit of providing a safe and rewarding opportunity for school-age children while their parents are at work.
As mayor, I’ll continue the work I’ve done as a nonprofit leader and in the Colorado legislature to protect reproductive health care and support strong families.
That’s why I cosponsored legislation that requires Colorado employers to offer accommodations to pregnant employees. That’s why I cosponsored legislation that requires Colorado employers to offer accommodations to pregnant employees
I have also been fighting to close the child care gap for years. I supported the effort to create a paid family leave program in Colorado. I knew that paid family leave made sense for Denver families—something voters affirmed when they approved that policy in 2020.7
I also fought to expand high-quality affordable preschool to thousands of Denver families. Gary Community Ventures, where I served as CEO, led the coalition to pass the statewide ballot measure to provide universal preschool. That measure will bring more than $45 million dollars to Denver starting this fall, guaranteeing preschool for every 4-year old and expanding access to high need 3-year olds, as well.
- See https://www.cpr.org/2022/07/12/colorados-abortion-clinics-tighten-security-against-threats/
- See https://nwlc.org/resource/states-take-action-to-stop-discrimination-based-on-reproductive-health-care-decisions/#
- See https://nirhealth.org/resources/meeting-the-moment-post-dobbs/
- See https://kdvr.com/news/these-states-have-the-largest-gender-pay-gaps-study-finds/
- See https://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/bpc-morning-consult-pregnancy-discrimination/#:~:text=Nearly%201%20in%204%20mothers,pregnancy%20discrimination%20in%20the%20workplace
- See https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/why-child-care-so-expensive/602599/
- See https://www.cpr.org/2020/11/03/colorado-voters-say-yes-to-a-paid-family-and-medical-leave-program/