Colorado residents celebrate life and urge others to protect unborn children

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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.

The annual Celebrate Life March and Rally was held Jan. 11 at the Colorado State Capitol. Thousands gathered to defend life and show their support for Initiative 120, a ballot proposal that seeks to ban abortions after 22 weeks in Colorado. (Photo by Brandon Young)

“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.

The community of Frassati Catholic Academy led this year’s march. (Photo by Brandon Young)

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.

COMING UP: Coloradans have chance to rescue the unborn

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Some people in our pews today can remember the time when abortion was not legal. But the rest of you who are filling the seats in our churches, working various jobs across northern Colorado and living next door are survivors. You may not realize it, but more than 50 million people who should be alive today are not because they were aborted.

Each of us is blessed that our mothers and fathers chose life for us, even when that meant life being very difficult for them. The recent revelations that the abortion provider Ulrich Klopfer kept the remains of 2,246 aborted children in his home, or the gruesome scenes brought to light by the trial of Kermit Gosnell lay bare the reality of what happens in abortion into clear focus.  Abortion is the violent taking of innocent, defenseless life, and the fact that this is legal in the United States is abhorrent.

Many people ask me what they can do to respond to this grave injustice. We must first and foremost pray for mothers and fathers who believe that they have no other choice than abortion. We must pray that their hearts are opened to God’s mercy and experience his forgiveness, no matter what they have done. At the same time, we should be ready to materially assist those women who find themselves considering abortion. That is why we have been working to expand our Marisol Health Clinics in recent years. We must be using every resource we have — medical care, food, shelter, counseling and friendship — to love Jesus as he comes to us via those in need.

Yes, we should be moved by the tragedy of how many innocent lives are being snuffed out by abortion, but we should not allow this injustice to let us overlook the suffering of the mothers and fathers who are often driven by fear to consider abortion. Similarly, we must not lose sight of the fact that those who work at abortion clinics believe that they are doing good, that they are helping people in need. Are we praying for these clinic workers? Are we treating them with kindness, even if they do not accept it?

In addition to physical, emotional, and prayerful assistance, we can limit the number of unborn children threatened by abortion in the legal realm. Several states have made progress in passing laws that seek to protect women and unborn children. Just this week, for example, we have learned that the United States Supreme Court will hear the case challenging Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, which requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

In Colorado, we have some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country. Currently, there is no point up until birth at which a baby cannot be aborted. Thankfully, Colorado voters will have the chance in the coming months to help children whose lives are at risk by signing a petition to qualify Proposition 120 for the November 2020 ballot. This proposition will restrict abortion to a maximum age of 22 weeks gestation, the point at which it is possible for a child to live on its own outside its mother’s womb.

I urge all Catholics to get involved in this effort! The bishops of Colorado and I have given permission to every pastor to allow trained signature gatherers to ask for signatures at every Catholic church in the state. It is important that those asking for signatures be trained so that we obtain the maximum number of certifiable signatures possible.

The fight against the culture of death is a long-term battle. In some ways known only to God, it will not be won until the second coming of Jesus Christ. However, we must not let up in our efforts to ensure that the goodness of every human life is respected in our laws, our churches and our families. It is my fervent prayer that in future generations, none of us will have to say that we are a survivor of abortion and that this great travesty is replaced by a culture of life.

If people in your parish are interested in being involved in this effort and would like to receive the training to collect signatures, please have them send an email to: [email protected].