Over 130 healthcare professionals and scientists sign endorsement letter for Proposition 115

Aaron Lambert

As the chance for Colorado voters to end late-term abortion in the state approaches in November, those both in support and opposition of the measure are beginning to make their voices heard.

Last week, a group of local healthcare professionals and scientists issued letter of endorsement in support of Propostion 115, which has over 130 signees. This comes on the heels of 125 local religious leaders who are part of the Interfaith Alliance issuing a letter Sept. 9 expressing their opposition to Proposition 115.

“The humanity of a 22-week fetus is apparent to each of us,” the letter states on behalf of the signees. “There can be no doubt that the 22-week fetus is fully alive and fully human.”

The full text of the support letter can be read below.

We, the undersigned, as members of the Healthcare and Life Science community in Colorado, wholeheartedly, and unequivocally, endorse Proposition 115 to restrict late term abortions in Colorado after 22 weeks gestation.

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.
• She can react to her mother’s voice and touch.
• She can experience pain, likely more intensely than an older infant or child can.
• She can demonstrate sophisticated behaviors, including early social interaction, which has been observed with fetal co-twins in utero as early as 15 weeks.
• Later in fetal development, she can develop food preferences based on exposure to flavors in her mother’s diet.
• She can show a preference for her mother’s voice, and for musical pieces to which she has been previously exposed.
With advances in medical science, it has become obvious that the fetus is much more than “just pregnancy tissue”, as some would claim. There can be no equivocation that the fetus is a living, learning and actively participating human being. Every one of these lives has inherent value and dignity. They deserve to be embraced and protected by the citizens of Colorado, as equal members of our society.

A 22-week prematurely born fetus can now routinely survive when provided appropriate medical care.
• The field of Neonatology serves the needs of these tiny patients.
• In some medical centers in the United States, 70% of 22-week fetuses survive.
• A 22-week fetus can undergo in utero curative surgery, as an independent patient. The fields of fetal anesthesiology and fetal surgery have been developing in response.
When cared for, these fetuses are viewed as separate and distinct patients by medical providers, receiving individualized treatment. Therefore, they should be treated as individuals by Colorado law.

We also recognize that some pregnant women face very difficult and complex pregnancy circumstances. As Healthcare providers, we respond to this with deep compassion. We believe that there must be increased private and public support for pregnant women-in-need living in Colorado. We seek to offer strong and viable alternatives for these women. We actively pursue this goal while acknowledging the good work of many organizations.
• We believe in the value of support that is offered through both public and faith-based alternative pregnancy centers such as the Caring Pregnancy Resource Center of Northeast Colorado, Alternatives Pregnancy Center and Marisol Health.
• We applaud the work of many organizations such as Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado to ensure that unwanted pregnancies don’t necessarily interrupt educational goals.
• We support those organizations who provide housing for pregnant women experiencing financial and housing insecurity such as Little Flower Maternity Home, Let Them Live, and Mary’s Home.
• We encourage greater access to perinatal hospice programs such as String of Pearls which provide a life-affirming and compassionate alternative to late term abortion for families dealing with the tragedy of a life-limiting fetal diagnosis.
• We work to encourage the gift of adoption and recognize the good work of adoption agencies across Colorado.
We stand in solidarity with all those who work privately and publicly to support women during their pregnancies, especially those women who face difficult circumstances or challenges during their pregnancies.

In the uncommon situations in which the pregnancy itself places the mother’s health at risk after 22-weeks, we know that delivery of the baby is safer and quicker than a multi-day abortion procedure. We do not believe that any of the challenges a woman faces after 22 weeks of pregnancy necessitate the senseless destruction of a human life.

As a diverse healthcare community, we acknowledge the 153,204 voters who petitioned to have Proposition 115 placed on this November’s ballot. They represent all political parties, races, ethnicities, and religions. These Colorado constituents have spoken out loudly about their strong belief in the humanity of fetuses at 22-weeks gestation and beyond. We must listen to them.

As a people who say we value life, we must act on our convictions. We ask all Coloradans to vote YES on Prop 115 and go to duedatetoolate.com to learn how to help.

Cora Aguilar MD
Jaimie Alvarez RDMS
Carlos Arguelles MD
George Athey MD PhD
Laura Beasley RN BSN
G. Scott Bowen MD FAAOS
Kathleen Brennan RN BSN
Flora Brewington MD
Cara Brown MD FAAFP
J. Mathew Brown MD FAAFP
Michael H. Bryant MD
Kelsey Buckingham RN
Maura Burton NP-C
Christa Calderon RN MS OCN
Janet Campbell RN
Kathryn Carpenter RN
Kory Carpenter DDS Candidate 2022
Kristen Case MS RN CNRN SCRN
Michele Chetham MD FAAP
Paul M. Chetham MD
Cathy J. Chess RN MSN CPNP BC, Lt Col USA
Denise (Dede) Chism NP
Maria G. Cuevas
Mathew S. Davis DDS
Nancy DeCook FNP-BC
Scott Deeney MD
Josephine “Joyce” Dennison MS PA-C
Kenneth Dernovsek MD
Kim K. Dernovsek MD
Robert Domaleski MD
Herman Doyle MD
Daniel Dyer MD
Charles Dygert MD
Michelle Earl BSN RN CEN
Bethany Engblom DO
Kevin Felix DO
Ryan M. Fisher MD
Ardis Fowler RN
Dana Gamblin DMD MSD
Elizabeth Garcia MD
Zachary Gastelum MD
Bruce T. Gilmore MD FACS
Michael Glugla MS ANP
Mary Jo Glugla MN FNP
Darragh Gott FNP
Thomas Greany DDS
Katherine Greene CNM
Joseph Gregory MD
Monica Hall PharmD
Patricia Hamrick RN
R. Scott Haskins MD
Carol Hatch RN
Roxann Headley MD
Alexandra Hill MD
Janessa C. Holliday BSN, RN, CPN
Kathleen Houston MLS(ASCP)SBB
Thomas C. Hoyle III MD
Laura Huene BSN RN CPLC
Marcie M. James, RN, BSN
Randolph L. James, MD
Thomas S. Jennings DDS MAGD
Thomas Jensen MD
Gary Jewell MD FAAFP
Mary E. Jewell MD FAAFP
Sarah Kathleen Johannes BSN CRNA
Luke Johnson MD
Karen Landmeier MD
Mark Landmeier MD
Rachel Langley DO
Walt L. Larimore MD
Francisco G. La Rosa MD
Laura Lazechko LMT CNA
Patricia Lipinski FNP
Erin Luna DO
Wendy S. Madigosky MD MSPH
Jessika Martin DDS
David P. Martinez MD
Mathew Martinez MD
Samuel J. Mast MD
Edward R. Mastro MD
Brenda McKinney BSN RN
Thomas Melcher DDS MS
Michael Moubarek MD Candidate 2022
Jennifer Munger RN
Joann Napierkowski MD
John Napierkowski MD
Robin Nichols, MSN RN FNP-C
Helen Nowak PA-C MSPAS
Trinh Nguyen MD
Sarah Page LCSW
Thomas J. Perille MD FACP FHM
Lirio Polintan MD
Marcia Pritchard LPC
Alan Rastrelli MD
Monique Robles MD
Natalie Rodden MD
Lisa Rust RN BSN
Eric Sawyer PT DPT OCS STC
Theresa A. Scholz MD
Monica Serrano-Toy MD
David C. Simon MD
James G. Smith Jr. MD
Kathryn E. Smith RN
Erik Sorbo DC
Patricia Sorbo DC, DiCCP
Maureen Estevez Stabio PhD
John C. Stallworth MD
Michelle Stanford MD
Michael Starkey MD
Helenka Stone MD
Kenneth A. Stone MD
Laura Straley RN BSN CCRN
Brian Stromer PA-C MS-PAS
Paula Suhr RN
David Theis DO
Kevin J. Tool MD
Elizabeth Tovado RN BSN
Julia Trevino-Emerson MD
Michael Uebbing OT
Carlos Vera MD
Deacon John Volk MD
Sarah R. Warren MD
Kevin Weber MD FACEP
Walter C. West Jr. MD
Catherine J. Wheeler MD
Deanne Wikler BSN RNC-OB
Patricia Wikler BSN RN C-AE
Hannah Wilson – MMS PA-C
Christopher Wojdak LPC, MT-BC
Mark Young MD AAFP
Annie Zeiler PA
Peter Zimmer MD

The views expressed here are our own and not those of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus or any other institution with which we are affiliated.

COMING UP: For Love of Country: A Catholic Patriotism

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Our country has been through a lot this last year, as we all know. As many people have reacted against the founding and history of the United States, I have found myself drawn towards greater patriotism. By this, I simply mean a deeper appreciation of what I’ve been given by my country and also a growing realization of the duty I have to work for the common good, here and now. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of this duty under the fourth commandment that enjoins honor not only to parents but also to anyone in authority.   

It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community (2239). 

Catholics, and all people of good will, are called to a love and service of country in order to work for the common good.  

Eric Metaxas argues that the future of our country depends precisely upon the active role of Christians in his book, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (Penguin, 2017). He describes something called the Golden Triangle, an idea he borrowed from Os Guinness, but which ultimately comes from the Founding Fathers. “The Golden Triangle of Freedom is, when reduced to its most basic form, that freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; and faith requires freedom. The three go round and round, supporting one another ad infinitum. If any one of the three legs of the triangle is removed, the whole structure ceases to exist” (54). John Adams, for example, related very clearly, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (quoted on 61). Metaxas comments, looking to specific examples around the world, “if you take God and faith and morality out of the equation, everything inevitably falls apart. It cannot be otherwise” (48). It cannot be otherwise. That may sound extreme, but we have many examples from Communist and Fascist countries and now even from movements within our country that aggressive secularism parallels a collapse of real freedom.  

The Constitution established an ordered liberty that requires responsibility and a determined effort of preservation. Hence the title of the book, taken from Benjamin Franklin, a republic “if you can keep it.” We are called to actively preserve our country: entering into a deeper understanding of the “idea” of America that undergirds the Republic as well as showing a loving determination to overcome challenges and threats to its continuance. This is not to whitewash the past, as we all know the injustices of our history. Metaxas argues that we can be grateful for the good and unique blessings of our heritage while also working to overcome failures. “To truly love America, one must somehow see both sides simultaneously” (226). Furthermore, by loving our country we are willing her good, drawing our own selves into the work for her good and helping her to be true to herself. “So that in loving America we are embodying her original intentions — we are indeed being America at her best — and in doing so we are calling her to her best, to be focused on doing all she can to fulfill the great promise which God has called her in bringing her into existence and shepherding her through trials and tribulations all these and centuries — and now” (235).  

As Catholics, we have a lot to offer our country by drawing from our rich intellectual and spiritual heritage. Michael Krom, a philosopher at St. Vincent College, provides us with a great resource in his new book, Justice and Charity: An Introduction to Aquinas’s Moral, Economic, and Political Thought (Baker, 2020). In an age of confusion, Catholics can bring greater clarity in our national discourse on the nature of human life, virtue, and politics. “We live in a time of ideological conflicts, in which the citizens of the nations of the modern world seem incapable of agreeing upon even the most basic of moral, economic, or political principles. Civil discourse has been replaced with violent protest, and reasoned dialogue with character assassination” (2). As Catholics, we should be able to look above all of this, literally: “While the Church does not force us to reject political citizenship, she demands that we direct it to the heavenly, and we can do that by heeding her call to engage the world rather than conform to it. I wrote this book out of the conviction that those who want to heed the Church’s call to engage our culture need to look to the past” (ibid.).  

Dr. Krom shows us that St. Thomas Aquinas has much to teach us about living the good life, in pursuit of a genuine freedom and happiness, and that this should inform a Catholic approach to economics and politics. It is hard to work for virtue if you don’t know what virtue really is, and difficult to act justly toward others if you don’t understand the nature of duty. Aquinas can help us to judge the direction of our country, as “a government cannot be called ‘good’ unless it promotes just moral and economic relationships between its citizens” (121). This is precisely the purpose of government — to promote right order and peace. We can’t just dispense with politics because, “the fact that humans find their fulfillment in political community means that situating their own good with the good of the community as a whole is central to happiness” (125). We are not isolated individuals and can’t attain a good and complete life on our own.  

Our ultimate good, however, is God, not the political life. Everything — all of our choices, including economic and political ones — must be directed to our ultimate goal. There are not “two ends to human existence, the earthly and the heavenly … [T]here is only one end, the beatific vision” (162). In this way the Church informs our citizenship. Krom explains “how inadequate this human law is as a teacher in the virtues, for it is limited in scope to the prevention of those vices from which even the wicked can refrain, and thus leaves those who seek after perfect virtue to their own devices … [H]uman law is in need of a higher law to truly bring about a just community” (155). Unfortunately, we’re seeing that our society is no longer even trying to prevent serious vice. Catholics and all believers have an important role to play, because “the lack of religion in the citizenry leads it down the path of totalitarianism. It Is absolutely critical that a people maintain a strong commitment to a transcendent measure of the common good in order to protect the true flourishing of its members” (171). Krom’s important work on justice and charity can teach us how a Catholic can exercise a proper patriotism, a true love of country.