Letter: New CO bill requiring abortion providers to report data could achieve a common goal – fewer abortions

Denver Catholic Staff

The most difficult part of the campaign for Prop 115 was the disinformation disseminated by our opponents. It was frustrating to see abortion rights advocates convince many Coloradans that late abortion was only pursued for medical indications and horrible fetal anomalies. They even suggested that a late abortion restriction would significantly impact rape/incest victims. It was hard to refute their claims since the state maintains a woefully inadequate/incomplete abortion surveillance database. I believe their misinformation cost us the winning margin. 

It became clear to me that Coloradoans are more likely to have a change of heart if they understood the true magnitude of the issue in Colorado and the reasons women cite to pursue abortion. The current abortion surveillance data is dramatically underreported. The pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute places the true number of abortions 40% higher. The deficiencies of the current data are glaringly apparent for late abortions (since the largest late-term abortion practice in Colorado, the Boulder Abortion Clinic, does not report their data). Furthermore, it does not address the reasons women have abortions or the complications of the procedure which is critical information from a public health perspective. 

Fortunately, Representative Stephanie Luck has introduced a bill that promises to shed a bright light on abortion practice in Colorado. HB21-1183 is an abortion surveillance bill that gives the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) additional tools to obtain reliable abortion data from Colorado’s abortion providers and expands the information that is required to be submitted. 

The new bill would increase the information provided by abortionists and make it unprofessional conduct if they don’t report their data. I anticipate that it will reveal that most abortions, including those after 22 weeks, are performed on normal fetuses. It will highlight the tragedy of abortion for fetuses with Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome. It will demonstrate that women very rarely pursue abortion for medical indications, rape or incest. It will give us information on the frequency of abortion complications in the totally unregulated Colorado abortion industry and identify the funding sources for abortion. 

I believe that HB21-1183 will be an important source of information for all Coloradans and inform their views on abortion. It can serve as an impetus for robust research on abortion in our state. I believe it can lead to the development of private/public policies and programs that address abortion demand and refine our services to women to reduce their perceived need for abortion. 

In my mind, knowledge is power. This bill is the first step in our effort to regroup and educate the people of Colorado after the failure of Prop 115. The bill has been referred to the Health and Insurance Committee (https://leg.colorado.gov/committees/health-insurance/2021-regular-session) for a hearing on March 24. The bill will be killed in committee unless the people of Colorado demand accurate and actionable abortion data. I would encourage Catholics to contact the members of the Health and Insurance committee, as well as their state representative and senator, and let their views be known. Please encourage them to vote YES. Together we can guarantee more transparency in our state and pull back the curtain on the ugly truth about abortion. 

Tom Perille, MD

COMING UP: From rare books to online resources, archdiocesan library has long history of service to students

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National Library Week, observed this year from April 4 to April 10, is the perfect occasion to highlight the essential role of libraries and library staff in strengthening our communities – and our very own Cardinal Stafford Library at the Archdiocese of Denver is no exception.  

Since 1932, the library has served as a religious, intellectual, and cultural resource for seminarians and students at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.

As the library of the seminary, we are always responsible for the four dimensions of the priestly formation of our seminarians. The library is charged with being responsible to all the divisions of the Seminary: the Lay Division (Catholic Biblical School and Catholic Catechetical School), the Permanent Deacon Formation Division, and the Priestly Formation Division, said Stephen Sweeney, Library Director. 

In addition to being one of the main resources to the seminary, the Cardinal Stafford Library serves the needs of other educational programs in the Archdiocese of Denver, including the St. Francis School for Deacons, the Biblical School, the Catechetical School and the Augustine Institute. While the library is currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was previously open to anyone, giving people access to more than 150,000 books, audios, and videos. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library was named after Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican and former Archbishop of Denver from 1986 to 1996. He was a dedicated advocate of the library and of Catholic education.

In 1932, the library was established by two seminarians, Maurice Helmann and Barry Wogan. While they were not the first seminarians to conceive the idea of establishing a library, they are considered the founders for undertaking its organization.  

Since its founding, the library has grown and compiled a fine collection of resources on Catholic theology, Church history, biblical studies, liturgy, canon law, religious art, philosophy, and literature. Special collections include over 500 rare books dating back to the early 16th century and many periodicals dating back to the 1800s. The oldest publication in the library is a book on excommunication published in 1510. The Cardinal Stafford Library is also home to various relics and holds bills personally written by some of those saints.  

Over the past few years, the library has undergone a process of beautification through various renovations that include improvements in lighting, flooring, and even furniture restoration. During these difficult times, libraries are doing their best to adapt to our changing world by expanding their digital resources to reach those who don’t have access to them from home. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library provides a community space; we subscribe to about 200 print journals and have access to literally thousands more through online resources available on campus computers, Sweeney added. “I have been the Library Director for almost 11 years. I absolutely love my work, especially participating in the intellectual formation of the faithful from all of the dioceses we serve”.  

For more information on the Cardinal Stafford Library, visit: sjvdenver.edu/library 

Featured photo by Andrew Wright