On the sunny Saturday of Jan. 15, thousands of civil rights activists converged on the Colorado State Capitol to courageously and joyfully stand up for basic human rights.
Their cause? The right to life for the most innocent and vulnerable in our society: the child in the womb. While the Celebrate Life March happens every year, it felt somehow different this year. A spirit of victory resonated among those in attendance in from the speakers who rallied the crowd before the march, which included Dan Caplis, Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez, Colorado Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer and Colorado Christian University president Donald Sweeting. The march was preceded by a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila.
With the looming Supreme Court decision surrounding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which directly poses a challenge to Roe v. Wade and nearly 50 years of legal abortion, the Colorado pro-life community sees a light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel, and the march was a collective acknowlegdement of that victory.
“Today is a monumental, historic victory because of what you’ve done — some of you for decades, some of you for days — but because of what you’ve done. Very soon, the perversion of the U.S. Constitution known as Roe v. Wade will be thrown on the ash heap of history,” Dan Capils told a cheering crowd as the rally kicked off. “And when Roe falls, yes, the highest mountain will have been conquered. But when Roe falls, there will be many other peaks to be scaled because when Roe falls, you’ll be able to come to this place and state legislatures across America and actually have a chance to make law and to save babies. So today, let’s use that victory. Let’s use the joy and momentum from that victory to fuel us as we now get ready to climb every one of those peaks, those doors that you have kicked open, and go out and together get to that promised land where every child can be saved.”
Grappling with the reality that over 60 million lives have been lost to the travesty of abortion is a constant challenge for the pro-life community, as is the uphill battle against the culture at large. However, through the witness of courageous mothers who chose life and those who stand up for the dignity of life from conception to natural death, minds and hearts have been changed and will continue to be, and Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez implored that this witness is needed now more than ever.
“To defend the life of the unborn in a culture of death will require heroism, courage, and suffering,” Bishop Rodriguez said. “To defend the lives of the unborn is a reality that cannot accept delay or hesitation and demands boldness and action. It is a matter of life and death to defend the life of the sick, the elderly, the terminally ill, he people on death row. It will imply a change of heart, moving from an individualistic, selfish and materialistic understanding of life to a compassionate and solidarity and sharing one. The question of life is the greatest priority, after God.”
If Roe gets overturned at the federal level, battles will manifest at the local level as state legislatures debate and decide abortion laws around the nation. Colorado Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer shared insight into the hard battle Colorado faces, as it’s already home to one of the most liberal abortion laws in the U.S.
“My Democratic colleagues are bringing forth legislation that quite frankly scares the heck out of me, and we’re going to need your help,” Senator Kirkmeyer said. “It’s legislation that will codify abortion all the way up until the moment of birth in state law. It’s a it’s a scary proposition.As Coloradans, we don’t want to be the most radical abortion state in the nation, which we will be if this proposed bill passes into law. Today I stand with you and I march with you as your state senator, as a mom, as a grandmother of six. I will continue to fight for the lives of the pre-born children at the Capitol every day because taking the innocent lives of children for convenience is not and never will be a tenant of a decent moral and just society. We can never stop fighting.”
The diversity of the crowd at the rally and march proved that the issue of life is universal. People of all races and ages and religious backgrounds were in attendance, united as one for the same cause. President Sweeting of Colorado Christian University stressed the need not only for unification amongst the pro-life community, but a commitment to continue assisting those courageous mothers who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy and walking alongside them as they choose life.
“Our challenge will by no means be over if the DOJ’s decision reverses Roe v. Wade. Rather, policy battles will become local. And what then will be our job? Well, much like now, it will be to speak the truth in love and point to alternatives,” Sweeting said. “Much like now, it will be to provide support for women facing unexpected pregnancies, helping them choose life. Much like now, it will involve supporting those life affirming crisis pregnancy care centers which serve these women. Much like now, we will involve proclaiming the Gospel and preaching God’s grace to sinners through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Much like now, it will involve the spiritual weapon of intercessory prayer, relying on the one giver of life who needs us together, pleading for justice and change. However, unlike now, it will involve working for change laws on the state level and pushing legislation that promotes a culture of life and not a culture of death.
“My message to pro-lifers today is to continue to stand for pro-life policies and for life in a post-Roe society,” Sweeting continued. “And my message is that you’re not alone. There are many others who stand with you, and God has placed us in Colorado at this time, in this season for a reason. It’s a time to stand together. We need teachers, mothers, fathers, pastors. We need artists and nurses, business leaders and politicians, writers and activists all working together not to be silent, but rather to address the sanctity of life and commit ourselves to work for change.”
Bishop Rodriguez echoed Sweeting’s call for unity in the cause, and called each person to respond heroically to the challenges that lie ahead — just as the heroic mothers who say “yes” to life do each day.
“I would say that today, all life is demanding from us a heroic love in the world we live in,” Bishop Rodriguez urged. “Thanks to the hard work of many pro-life people like you, many more people in our country have embraced the culture of life and things maybe taking a turn for the better. But the recent exasperated and irritated reaction against this reality calls for strength, perseverance, hope and eventually heroism. But if God is with us, who can be against us?”