Denver bishops issue letter to Hispanic community urging support of Prop 115

Archdiocese of Denver

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez have issued a letter to the Hispanic community urging support of Prop 115.

September 27, 2020

World Day of Immigrants and Refugees

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In a few weeks all Coloradans will vote to elect the next president and whether to pass or reject various initiatives. Proposition 115 is one such initiative, which seeks to prohibit abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, except in serious and rare cases which endanger the life of the mother.

As of today, Colorado is one of only seven states in the United States that allows the killing of a child up until the moment of birth. More than forty states have restricted or banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy altogether.

Statistics show that 64% of children can survive even at 22 weeks’ gestation. By 22 weeks a child in his mother’s womb can feel, wake up, suck his thumb, move his eyes and react to external influences. Abortion is, and always will be a crime and a sin that cries out to heaven.

Archbishop Aquila has always promoted a culture of life and the Bishops of Colorado have written a letter in support ofProposition 115 saying, “We, the bishops of Colorado, implore Coloradansespecially the Catholic faithful- to vote for the late-term abortion ban during the November elections.”

Planned Parenthood (one of the largest abortion providers in the nation), institutions of all sorts, and even a coalition of130 pastors and non-Catholic religious leaders in Colorado have signed a letter against Proposition 115. Great amounts of money have been invested in this campaign, to promote murder of unborn children under the false disguise of”women’s rights.” Their arguments are misleading and can never justify the murder of children in their mother’s womb.

In contrast, more than 130 doctors and scientists in Colorado wrote a letter in favor of Proposition 115: “As Healthcare professionals we are totally aware of the science of human development. The humanity of a 22-week fetus is apparent to each of us. There can be no doubt that the 22-week fetus is fully alive and fully human.”

The sacredness of life is in God’s heart. The fifth commandment, “Thou shall not kill,” also applies to children within their mother’s womb. They are vulnerable and helpless creatures who must be protected by mothers and society, by us. “For you drew me forth.from the womb, made me safe at my mother’s breasts. Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since my mother bore me you are my God” (Psalm 22:10-11). From within their mother’s womb, children ask God for their lives. God asks you today to protect His most delicate and helpless children. Voting against or voting for Proposition 115 would be a great sin, at least, a sin of omission which would make you complicit in a massacre of innocent lives.

The Church teaches that “Human life must be absolutely respected and protected from the moment of conception. From the first moment of one’s existence, human beings must see the rights of the person recognized, among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life (CCC 2270). And it also reminds us that since the first century Christians have denounced the moral evil of abortion: “You will not kill the embryo by abortion, you will not kill the newborn” (CCC 2271).

The Hispanic community is a Pro-life community. Life, children and family are the great values and treasures of our culture and people. This is how we live, so we bring it with us to the United States. Thus, we hope to pass these values on to our children. By voting for Proposition 115, we are given an opportunity to speak as Hispanics and as Pro-Life Catholics. It is worrying, however, as pointed out in a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, that Hispanic priorities this November are centered around the economy, health and the coronavirus; and in a distant twelfth place: abortion. I am concerned that, according to this survey, the question of life will not appear as an absolute priority. Let us not allow propaganda, social media and the promoters of the Culture of Death destroy that richness of our faith and our Hispanic tradition: We are and will be a people for Life.

Rest assured that your “Yes” to Proposition 115 will have innumerable consequences for the lives of many children who, within their mother’s womb, count on you for life. May the intercession of our Lady of Guadalupe, “Mother of the true God for whom we live,” help our Hispanic community remain a people who love life, protect and celebrate it from the very moment of conception.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

COMING UP: ‘It gives me great hope’: Archbishop Aquila prays with others at Boulder Abortion Clinic

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

‘It gives me great hope’: Archbishop Aquila prays with others at Boulder Abortion Clinic

Push to end late-term abortion in Colorado fortified by 40 Days for Life fall campaign

Aaron Lambert

The 2020 40 Days for Life fall campaign launched Sept. 23, and to mark the occasion, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila joined a fervent group of others to pray a rosary outside of the Boulder Abortion Clinic.

Over 20 pro-lifers stood on the sidewalk outside of the clinic where Dr. Warren Hern conducts late-term abortions and peacefully prayed for an end to abortion and for the women who seek them. Archbishop Aquila offered a blessing for those in attendance and expressed his support and gratitude for those who were giving of their time to pray for the sanctity of life.

We know that there are women who have previously worked in centers like this or even Planned Parenthood and who have had strong conversions and whose hearts have changed,” he said. “And so by the power of God, by the grace of God, by our constant prayer for these people, their hearts can be changed. They can come to know the truth. And with that, we see the mercy and forgiveness of the father and live as his children. And so it always gives me hope to see people that are willing to come out and witness for that truth.”

Many of the people in attendance regularly pray outside the clinic, including Sarah Volkman and Susan Gills, who help to organize the 40 Days for Life prayer vigils in Boulder. Those who pray on the sidewalk are accustomed to passersby shouting at them in opposition, though on this particular day, only two instances occurred. Even so, they remain undeterred, and Volkman said there are many opportunities to talk to people about the dignity of life.

A fervent group of over 20 people, including Archbishop Samuel. J. Aquila, gathered to pray a rosary outside of the Boulder Abortion Clinic Sept. 23 to mark the beginning of the 40 Days for Life fall campaign. (Photos by Aaron Lambert)

“I get to communicate the message of life to people that otherwise wouldn’t engage in a conversation about it,” Volkman said. “I’ve had groups of adolescent girls that I talked to for 20 minutes. When you are a good listener, people listen to you.”

This year, the 40 Days for Life fall campaign is perhaps a bit more poignant in Colorado as voters have the chance to end late-term abortion in the state by voting “yes” on Proposition 115 in November. If passed, this would restrict abortions past the 22-week mark in Colorado and impose a penalty on the doctors who perform abortions past that point. No penalty would be imposed on the mother, and there is an exemption if the mother’s life is in danger.

Gills was involved in the signature-gathering efforts for Prop 115, and in doing so, she discovered something rather unexpected.

“What I found is a lot of the younger generation were willing to sign, and a lot in my generation were not,” she said.

Optimistically, Gills observed that “I think the trend is going more to pro life, especially when you think about a baby that’s 24-weeks gestational age. They’re viable. We spend millions of dollars saving those at hospitals around the Denver area. They can live. Ultrasounds have proven that point.”

Volkman concurred.

“It’s pretty hard to argue that a 22-week-old fetus isn’t human or is dispensable because they look human,” Volkman said. “They have all the features of a human being. They move around, they make choices about where they want to be in the space of the womb. They’re obviously human and it’s impossible to deny that. That’s why I’m hoping that because of that viability and those obvious human characteristics, that people will have a really hard time voting against [Prop 115]. It’s a very reasonable proposition. It’s a step in the right direction.”

The media and society, and many politicians put out the lie and the false premise that Catholics only care about the unborn. That is not true. That is a total lie.”

Archbishop Aquila emphasized that caring for life goes beyond simply defending the unborn, and that the Catholic Church has many ministries and programs to help ensure women who are struggling with an unwanted pregnancy don’t feel alone or as though abortion is the only option.

One of the things that is important in the passage of Proposition 115 is that there are many good people out in society who truly want to help women carry their children and who want to love the woman, want to love the unborn child and will help care for them not only through the pregnancy, but well after the pregnancy,” the archbishop said. “In many different ways, they serve those women who want to find jobs, who want to work, who want to give life to their children.

“The media and society, and many politicians put out the lie and the false premise that Catholics only care about the unborn. That is not true. That is a total lie,” he stressed. “We see that in some of the homes that exist. We see that in the Sisters of Life. We see that in Bella. We see that in Catholic Charities and in so many other different ways where we are supporting the child through pregnancy, birth and after birth. And so giving witness to that and offering women hope that they do not need to take a unique human being away from the world. We are willing to accompany them and to be with them and love them in that.”

As part of 40 Days for Life, Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez will be celebrating two Masses at Planned Parenthood in Stapleton on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Anybody is welcome to attend.

The 40 Days for Life fall campaign ends on Nov. 1. For more information and to find a local prayer vigil to attend, visit 40daysforlife.com/colorado.