When did you become you?

On Aug. 26 pro-lifers gathered at the Colorado Capitol in support of U.S. Senate Bill 1670, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which aims to stop late-term abortions and protect the health of women. The rally was sponsored by Students for Life of America. The United States is one of just seven nations that allow abortion past 20 weeks (five months) of pregnancy. Among the speakers was Lynn Grandon, executive director of Lighthouse Women’s Center and program director for Respect Life Resources of Catholic Charities of the Denver Archdiocese. Her comments are below. Listen to Grandon’s talk here:  http://ow.ly/BfRYf.

I want to ask all of you a question that maybe you haven’t thought about until today and that question is: When did you become you? When you’re as big as you are now? When you were this big? When you were this big? When you were only this big? Was that you or was that somebody else? We know that you can go smaller and smaller and smaller, but it was you.

Objective scientific fact affirms that, at fertilization, when a brand new DNA strand is established, it is the blueprint for a genetically unique human being. The instructions are present for all that that person ever will become. And that is how each of you, and each of us standing here … this afternoon, began our life here.

And here’s something beautiful that I want to share with you. God tells us in holy Scripture that even before he formed us in our mother’s womb, he knew us. He knew us. That means he was even thinking about you, and what you were going to do, before you were even created.

It’s quite wonderful. He took all the amazing traits that you have from your ancestors and put them into your DNA so that you could be here at this time in human history. Not a hundred years ago, not a hundred years from now. But right now. For you to make an impact in this world. You’ve got to do that. You’ve got to find your life’s purpose and do that.

I want to let you know, that at centers like this, these women’s centers — and ours is located right across the street from the second largest Planned Parenthood in the whole United States of America—we are tired of people saying to these dear women, “It’s not a baby until it’s born.” I politely say to those people: What else could the offspring of two human beings be: a giraffe, a tadpole? I mean, honestly, we are so intricately designed.

I’d love to share with you that your circulatory system was so intricate that within 18 to 21 days after you were created; your little heart had already begun to beat. That is before some women even realize that they’re pregnant. Do you know I’ve had poor little couples as young as eighth grade that got pregnant say: “Well, the baby’s heart is already beating?” I say, “Yes, it’s a scientific fact.” And they would quietly say, “Well, I don’t want to take the life of something that’s heart is already beating.”

I mean, these are wonderful things. If we share truths with people, they can make right decisions. Did you know, when you were only 8 weeks old inside your mother — that’s just about the size of the top of my thumb — that all of your internal organs were present? They just had to get bigger. I mean, that’s astounding. We have had young women come into our centers and say, “Well, wait a minute, you’re saying that my baby is that big already? I was just across the street last year and they told me there was nothing in there.”

Come on people. We just can share the truth. Which is absolutely wonderful for me to share with you because we serve the God who not only created the entire universe, he also is the God of the microscopic world. That within just a few weeks after you were 8 weeks old, the FBI would be able to tell you apart from any person on the planet. Because your fingerprints were being finished up while you were still in the womb. It’s amazing.

So don’t be afraid to share real truth. Use common sense. Use honest science. A baby inside the mother is distinct from their mother. Do not let women say to you, “This is my body, I’ll do with what I want.” That baby may have an entirely different blood type. So how can it be that body? What if it’s a little boy? How can it be her body, inside a female body, if every part and every bit of that little body says this is a boy.

There [are] so many arguments out there. Dependency, we can refute that. The arguments that say we can kill babies at one stage, and not another, I contest are arbitrary, no basis in biology, philosophy or morality.

What is the phrase they always use to sell abortion: The baby must be wanted? I stand before you today and say, with a generous heart, there is not a baby born anywhere that is unwanted. Somebody wants that baby. Somebody wants it. There’s over 2 million couples right here in America that are waiting for an [adoption] and that baby does not have to be perfect. They would love to give their love to that baby.

Do you know who was almost aborted? Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Beethoven. I could name them and name them and name them. We’ve learned that they were nearly aborted. I had [a] wonderful young classroom of kids say, “Mrs. G., if those people were almost aborted, then who have we aborted?”

It’s worth thinking about it. Our individual biological systems begin at conception and end at the end of our life. Our humanity does not depend upon our size, our stage of development or our place of residence. One of the women here, I’d like affirm what she said, because children in the womb can be viewed, monitored, receive blood transfusions and have in-utero surgeries to correct defects. It’s illogical to say that they’re not part of the human family.

Down at this end of Colfax, go that way, at Children’s Hospital, they’re doing in-utero surgery. Go the other way to Boulder—same size, right—they’re taking their lives. I want to make another important comment about Colorado, and I’m happy to be living here now. We protect eagles, don’t we, from extinction? We also have laws regarding their eggs. Why? What’s inside that egg? An embryonic eagle.

Father Tad [Pacholczyk] from National Catholic Bioethics Center reminds us: “When we begin to talk about our embryonic origins, we can’t go through mental gymnastics trying to convince ourselves that we were never embryos.”

I say, all of you: Be brave, stand up for the value, worth and dignity of every single human life. And I don’t know how many of you [here] read the Bible. But I will say to you right now, I read the back of the book. And we win.

COMING UP: Colorado Catholic Conference 2021 Legislative Recap

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On June 8, the First Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly adjourned. Over 600 bills were introduced this session. Policy primarily focused on transportation, agriculture, healthcare, fiscal policy, and the state budget. However, the legislature also considered and passed many bills that could impact the Catholic Church in Colorado.  

Some bills that were passed will uphold Catholic social teaching and protect the poor and vulnerable of our society while others pose potentially harmful consequences to the Catholic Church, its affiliated organizations, and Colorado citizens who wish to practice their well-founded convictions. There were also many bills that were considered by the legislature that did not pass, including two bills that would have upheld the sanctity of life and two that would have expanded education opportunity for K-12 students.  

The Colorado Catholic Conference (CCC), as the united voice of the four Colorado bishops, advocated for Catholic values at the Capitol and ensured that the Church’s voice was heard in the shaping of policy.  

Below is a recap of the CCC’s 19 priority bills from the 2021 legislative session. For a full list of the legislation the Conference worked on, please visit: https://www.cocatholicconference.org/2021-legislative-bills-analysis/  

For regular updates and other information, please sign-up for the CCC legislative network here.  

Six bills the CCC supported that were either passed or enacted

Note: Passed means the bill was approved by both chambers of the legislature and is pending the governor’s signature as of June 9, 2021. Enacted means the bill was signed by the governor and became law.  

HB 21-1011 Multilingual Ballot Access for Voters – Passed  
If enacted, counties where either 2,000 adults or 2.5% of the adult population primarily speak a language other than English will be required to provide a ballot in that language. 

HB 21-1075 Replace The Term Illegal Alien – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1075, the term “illegal alien” was replaced with the term “worker without authorization” as it relates to public contracts for services.  

SB 21-027 Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families – Passed  
If enacted, the state government will allocate much-needed funding for nonprofit organizations to provide diapers and other childcare necessities to families in need, including Catholic Charities.  

SB 21-077 Remove Lawful Presence Verification Credentialing – Enacted    
With the enactment of SB 77, verification of lawful presence will no longer be required for any applicant for a license, certificate, or registration, particularly in the job fields of education and childcare.  

SB 21-146 Improve Prison Release Outcomes – Passed  
If enacted, SB 146 will establish practices that ease the transition back into society for formerly incarcerated persons.  

SB 21-158 Increase Medical Providers for Senior Citizens – Passed  
If enacted, SB 158 will allocate more funding for senior citizen care, which is currently understaffed and underfunded.  

Eight bills the CCC opposed that were passed 

HB 21-1072 Equal Access Services For Out-of-home Placements – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1072, Colorado law now prohibits organizations that receive state funding for placing children with adoptive or foster parents from discriminating on, among other things, the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or marital status. This new law will likely to be impacted by the imminent Fulton v. City of Philadelphia U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

HB 21-1108 Gender Identity Expression Anti-Discrimination – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1108, “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” are now recognized as protected classes in Colorado nondiscrimination code. This may have serious religious liberty implications for individuals and organizations that wish to practice their well-founded convictions on marriage and human sexuality. 

SB21-006 Human Remains Natural Reduction Soil – Enacted 
With the enactment of SB 006, human remains can now be converted to soil using a container that accelerates the process of biological decomposition, also known as “natural reduction.” 

SB 21-009 Reproductive Health Care Program – Passed 
If enacted, SB 009 will create a taxpayer funded state program to increase access to contraceptives.  

SB 21-016 Protecting Preventive Health Care Coverage – Passed 
If enacted, the definition of “family planning services” and “family planning-related services” will not be clearly defined in law and could potentially include abortion. Furthermore, SB 16 removes the requirement that a provider obtain parental consent before providing family planning services to a minor.  

SB 21-025 Family Planning Services for Eligible Individuals– Passed 
If enacted, SB 025 low-income women to be given state-funded contraception, “preventing, delaying, or planning pregnancy” services, which includes cessation services and sterilization services.  

SB 21-142 Health Care Access in Cases of Rape or Incest– Enacted  
The enactment of SB 142 removes the requirement that, if public funds are being used, a physician must perform an abortion at a hospital, and instead allows for abortions to be performed by any “licensed provider.”   

SB21-193 Protection of Pregnant People in Perinatal Period– Passed 
If enacted, SB 193 will eliminate an important protection in Colorado law for a preborn and viable baby when a woman is on life support.  

Five bills the CCC supported that failed  

HB21-1017 Protect Human Life at Conception – Failed 
HB 1017 would have prohibited terminating the life of an unborn child and made it a violation a class 1 felony.  

HB 21-1080 Nonpublic Education and COVID-19 Relief Act – Failed 
HB 1080 would have established a private school and home-based education income tax credit for families who either enroll their child in private school or educate their child at home, thereby expanding education opportunities for families during and after the pandemic.  

HB 21-1183 Induced Termination of Pregnancy State Registrar – Failed 
HB 1183 would have required health-care providers that perform abortions to report specified information concerning the women who obtain the procedure to the state registrar of vital statistics, thereby increasing transparency in the abortion industry.   

HB 21-1191 Prohibit Discrimination COVID-19 Vaccine Status– Failed  
HB 1191 would have prevented individuals from being coerced to take the COVID-19 vaccine by either the state or by employers.  

HB 21-1210 Modifications to Qualified State Tuition Programs – Failed 
HB 1210 would have allowed families to use some of their private 529 savings account funds for private K-12 school tuition for their children, including at Catholic schools.   

One bill the CCC opposed that failed 

SB 21-031 Limits on Governmental Responses to Protests– Failed 
SB 031 would have made it more difficult for law enforcement to protect innocent lives when protests turn violent.  

Two bills the CCC was in an “Amend” position that passed  

SB 21-073 Civil Action Statute of Limitations Sexual Assault – Enacted  
With the enactment of SB 073, the statute of limitations on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct will be removed as of January 1, 2022. Under this law, victims of sexual abuse can pursue a civil cause of action if the statute of limitations has not expired, the abuse happened in Colorado, and the abuse could be considered a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor if it was a criminal case. 

SB 21-088 Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act– Passed  
If enacted, SB 88 will allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue public and private institutions for abuse that occurred between 1960-2022. Victims would have three years to bring a historical claim, starting from January 1, 2022. Claims brought during this window would be capped at $387,000 for public institutions and at $500,000 for private institutions, with the ability of a judge to double the damages depending on how the private institution handled the situation. Despite unanswered constitutional concerns regarding SB 88, the Colorado Catholic dioceses will also continue to offer opportunities for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to receive support in a non-litigious setting.   

While the legislature has adjourned the 2021 legislative session, there is still the possibility that they will reconvene later this year. To stay up-to-date on Colorado legislative issues and their impact on the Catholic Church in Colorado, be sure to sign up for the CCC legislative network HERE.