Building a culture of life in Colorado

Larry Smith

There’s no reason for a woman to have an abortion in Colorado, which has been legal for decades. And there’s no reason for anyone to take their own life through physician-assisted suicide, which was approved by Colorado voters as Proposition 106 on Nov. 8.

Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. And just because you have that choice doesn’t mean you should choose it.

Abortion and euthanasia are two of the “non-negotiables” that Catholics must never endorse or participate in. Not only do we stand against the culture of death, no matter what, but we are called by Our Lord Jesus Christ to defend life from conception to natural death.

So if you, or someone you know, is contemplating abortion or considering euthanasia, Catholic Charities stands ready to help. We will care for those individuals in crisis, or find help for them.

I ask that you join us through prayer, volunteerism and financial support. A great way to do that is to schedule a donation to Catholic Charities at coloradogives.org/ccdenver in advance of Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The only way to defeat the culture of death is to be a people of life. That’s why Catholic Charities is building a continuum of care throughout northern Colorado. To see all that we’re doing to serve children and vulnerable people of all ages, go to our website (ccdenver.org) and also sign up for our Charity Works publication.

For a woman experiencing an unintended pregnancy, Catholic Charities not only provides counseling and compassion, we provide her with medical care through Marisol Health (marisolhealth.com) before and after the birth of her child. We can also meet needs for diapers, formula and baby clothes, as well as provide shelter, educational opportunities and job training. We can provide everything that an expectant mother needs not only to give life to her child, but to have a life with her child.

Those at the end of life should know about Divine Mercy Supportive Care (dmsci.org), a Colorado-based Catholic non-profit agency that provides palliative and hospice care that is “always consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church,” while “available for persons of any religious belief.” They provide people at the end of life with loving, merciful and compassionate care. Everyone facing end-of-life decisions deserves the dignity that God gave them to live through to the natural end.

The continuum of care from conception to natural death is not about being Catholic, it’s about being human. We care for everyone not because they’re Catholic, but because we’re Catholic. The Catholic Church has always served the most vulnerable in the spirit of the Good Samaritan.

To repeat, there’s no reason to take the life of a child in the womb through abortion, or for anyone to take their own life through euthanasia. Charity is really about helping those who need it most. If you are in a desperate situation, you may think that there’s no one to take care of you. Or that you can’t handle the pain. Or that you’re totally alone.

We will take care of you. When you’ve lost hope, call us. We’re the hope in Jesus Christ.

COMING UP: Introducing Marisol Health

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Introducing Marisol Health

Connecting women to healthcare for life

Karna Swanson

When a woman finds herself in a crisis pregnancy, she needs more than a free test and a referral; she needs a connection to a wide network of support that can help her navigate this life-changing event.

This is the vision behind Marisol Health, an initiative of Catholic Charities that seeks to consolidate the current offerings available to women facing unexpected pregnancies with little material, emotional or spiritual resources, while also creating a network of clinics that offer women affordable comprehensive healthcare.

According to Jan McIntosh, vice president of women’s services at Catholic Charities, Marisol is a unique model for women’s healthcare that is a natural outgrowth of the “continuum of care” approach that currently drives the operations of Catholic Charities. And, she added, it’s something they’ve already been doing.

The most important thing we can do is walk with a woman on her journey. Being able to have a close relationship, plug her in and set her up for success with the resources of Catholic Charities is beautiful.”

“We’ve had the infrastructure, [and] we’ve had the ability to connect women, men, and families into the other services of Catholic Charities,” she told the Denver Catholic, such as those that “help women both with decision making around what to do with their pregnancy, but also other areas in their lives that were causing them stress.”

Examples include connecting women to social services such as emergency shelter, child care, victim assistance, and counseling, as well as material help such as diapers and other needs for moms with newborns.

McIntosh noted that connecting women to these services won’t be through a referral. “We actually have a person on site who can connect them immediately,” she said. “That’s what we find is really critical—it’s establishing that relationship and that trust. Particularly when women are at a point of vulnerability.”

Additionally, Marisol forged a partnership with Bella Natural Women’s Care, a medical clinic in Englewood, to expand its services even more to include a full complement of women’s health care that allows for convenient and affordable options for testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, care of adolescent girls, abortion pill reversals, ultrasounds, natural family planning, infertility care, obstetrics including prenatal care, delivery and post-partum, problem gynecology and menopause.

Marisol Selects-5_DC

Marisol Health, headed by Jan McIntosh (right), is partnering with Dede Chism (left) and Bella Natural Women’s Care to provide women with affordable, comprehensive health care. (Photo by Andrew Wright | Denver Catholic)

McIntosh said that the relationship with Bella is what sets Marisol apart: “What makes us unique from the model where we were functioning and where many of the pregnancy centers across the country are functioning right now, is that they do largely the initial pregnancy testing, maybe some STD testing, and ultrasounds. Many clinics are not then able to offer the full complement of prenatal care, overall woman’s care.”

“What we know is women feel whole through this continuum of care,” said Dede Chism, nurse practitioner and director of Bella. “The most important thing we can do is walk with a woman on her journey. Being able to have a close relationship, plug her in and set her up for success with the resources of Catholic Charities is beautiful.”

Marisol Health will begin with two clinics: one in Denver, in what was formerly known as Lighthouse, and one in Lafayette, CO. The Denver office is currently open and the Lafayette office is projected to open in early October.

In addition to these clinics, Marisol will run an outreach office on the campus of CU Boulder.

For more information, visit MarisolHealth.com

Josh Florence contributed to this report.