Thousands of people raised their voices Jan. 11 and marched in the Celebrate Life March and Rally outside the Colorado State Capitol to call for human rights for unborn babies and urging people to sign a petition to get Initiative 120 on the 2020 ballot, which seeks to ban late-term abortions in Colorado.
The celebration began with a special mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila followed by the rally and march on the west steps of the state capitol.
“No matter what culture of death we live in, no matter what words of hate are spoken to us, no matter what persecution we experience…have the courage to proclaim the dignity of life from the moment of conception until natural death,” Archbishop Aquila told the crowd during the rally.
This celebration is part of a nation-wide effort to raise awareness around the hundreds of thousands of abortions that take place every year in the U.S., resulting in the deaths of unborn children and calls for state legislatures and policies that protect human life.
Among the speakers at the rally was Victor Hernández, a middle school student from St. John the Evangelist on Loveland, who shared his pro-life essay about how his mom considered aborting him when she learned she was pregnant but changed her mind.
“She chose to continue her pregnancy and take care of a baby at age 16. Abortion was not an option. She had no idea of how to take care of a baby. She knew that continuing her pregnancy was not going to be easy, but she did it anyway. She gave up her dreams… People have many excuses for making abortion happen, there is no excuse to justify an abortion. I know my mother did everything she could to provide for me, she had no excuses,” Hernández said.
Keynote speaker was Ramona Treviño, former director of a Planned Parenthood, who shared her emotional testimony of the power of prayer and her transformation to an activist who now fights for human life.
“All my time at Planned Parenthood is often a distant memory for me. What isn’t a distant memory, what will never be a distant memory, are the thousands of preborn babies who are legally slaughtered every day in the U.S., all in the name of choice. Shamefully I was once an accomplice to those murders until God intervened… I stand before you this afternoon all by the grace of God and the divine mercy of Jesus Christ,” Treviño told the crowd.
This year, the rally had a different focus and centered around Initiative 120, which would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks through birth, with the only exception being if the mother’s life is at risk.
“No one has the right to terminate a life. And it’s time as a state that we put some common-sense guardrails in there and protect these preborn children,” said Jeff Hunt of Colorado Christian University, who attended as a volunteer signature collector for Initiative 120.
Colorado is one of several states that allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth. Under initiative 120, a person conducting a late-term abortion could be subject to having a medical license suspended for a least three years and would be subject to a fine, but no jail time. The initiative would not impose a penalty on a woman receiving the abortion.
In 1967, Colorado was the first state to eliminate abortion restrictions, but this could change if Initiative 120 reaches the November ballot and state residents vote to restrict abortion laws. To qualify for the Colorado November ballot, supporters must collect 124,632 valid signatures by March 4.
Hunt also noted that young people are involved in and care for this issue despite all the peer pressure in their lives today.
“Young people are engaged in this issue. They care deeply about it. They watch their brother and sister on a sonogram printed and put on the refrigerator of the wall,” Hunt said. “And they’re not buying that belief that it’s just a clump of cells. There is a human being there. We’ve got to work to protect them.”
Archbishop Aquila concluded his speech by inviting registered voters to defend the dignity of life and protect unborn children during the upcoming elections in Colorado.
“We hope in November 2020, you and the citizens of Colorado will have the chance to protect unborn children, mothers, and fathers,” the Archbishop said.
For more information and to sign Initiative 120, visit www.duedatetoolate.com.