Hefty: Closing autopsy reports puts Colorado’s children, public safety at risk

Fort Collins Coloradoan: As a journalist, not every day is easy.

There are days we have to go to the scene of a shooting that left three young adults dead.

There are days we have to sit in a jury trial viewing evidence of the murder of a baby girl.

There are days we see things we wish we could unsee.

There are days I go home and cry.

These stories affect us, sometimes deeply. But we do our jobs daily as a service to the public and to make a difference — for survivors of domestic violence, to help create understanding, to hold our government accountable, to protect our community’s children.

Colorado lawmakers posed a threat to that last tenet this week when they voted to close child autopsy reports to the public, limiting their release only to certain parties.

Senate Bill 223 is awaiting Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature. He shouldn’t sign it into law. Here’s why:

The new law would diminish the public’s right to an open, transparent government while significantly hindering efforts by public health researchers and journalists to provide public safety reporting and research that protects those who need the most protection — our children.

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