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

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
Renee’ Herman RN BSN MHSA CCCTM
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
Sharon Sables-Baus PhD RN MPA PCNS-BC CPPS FAAN
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: Moral courage and the many cultures of death

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

CRACOW. Thanks to the pandemic, it’s been two years since I was last in Cracow, where for three decades I’ve done extensive research and taught great students while forming friendships with many remarkable people. It was wonderful to be back in one of the world’s greatest cities, and soon after I arrived in late June, I took a long walk to see what had changed. The first major difference I noticed was that the plaza in front of the central railway station (named for my late friend Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, a World War II courier for the Polish Home Army and the man from whom the future John Paul II got real news via Radio Free Europe’s Polish service) has a new, strikingly modern memorial, dedicated to the memory of Colonel Ryszard Kukliński.

That name is not well-known throughout a western world that has largely forgotten the meaning and lessons of the Cold War. But if Jan Nowak-Jeziorański was right when he spoke about the Polish colonel in the mid-1990s, Ryszard Kuklinski was a genuine hero of the long, twilight struggle against communist totalitarianism — the man who helped prevent a bloody Soviet invasion of Poland to crush the nascent Solidarity movement.

An accomplished officer in the communist-era Polish Army, Ryszard Kukliński began to doubt the truth of what he had been told about the West when, as a member of an international commission, he met American military men in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. His doubts about communism and its purposes intensified by orders of magnitude in 1968, when the brutal Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia ground the Prague Spring to dust under the treads of Soviet tanks, and in 1970, when the Polish army shot Polish workers during labor strife. Privy to some of the Warsaw Pact’s most confidential strategic plans, he became convinced that, if the Cold War turned hot and the east bloc attacked the West, the Soviets would sacrifice Poland as retaliatory western tactical nuclear strikes hit the second wave of Warsaw Pact troops pushing west. So, in 1972, Kukliński, risking his life and his family’s safety, offered his services to the United States and for the next nine years was the West’s most important intelligence asset behind the iron curtain.

His greatest service to Poland and the cause of freedom came in the later months of 1980. Thanks to his efforts, the United States knew the entire order-of-battle the Soviet Union had organized to stamp out Solidarity, which had held its first formal congress in September 1980. With that information, and working in concert with the incoming Reagan administration, outgoing national security adviser Zbigniew Brzeziński, with the help of the AFL-CIO’s Lane Kirkland, was able to organize a comprehensive western response to a potential Soviet invasion of Poland: an international economic blockade that would have severely damaged the already-staggering Soviet economy. Faced with economic ruin, the Soviet leadership backed down and the Warsaw Pact divisions that had surrounded Poland withdrew.

Colonel Kukliński and his family were exfiltrated to the West; two of his sons later died under dubious circumstances that may have involved Russian retribution, and Kukliński lived out his life under an assumed name in the United States, dying in 2004. There was public controversy when he returned to his native Poland for a 1998 visit, with some charging that he had violated his officer’s oath by working for American intelligence for a decade. John Paul II, through various intermediaries, quietly passed the word that Kukliński was to be regarded in Poland as a national hero. Zbigniew Brzeziński, who held the exact same view, put it brilliantly, in a comment that appears on the Kukliński Memorial in Cracow: Colonel Kukliński was “the first Polish officer in NATO.” 

Communism was a distinctive form of the culture of death, for the effort to create “Homo Sovieticus” was a lethal assault on souls. Colonel Ryszard Kukliński took a courageous stand against that particular culture of death, knowing as he did that freedom is never cost-free: freedom lived nobly always requires sacrifice. His example should be pondered by Catholic citizens and Catholic public officials throughout the West today, who are called to resist, with similar moral courage and effect, that form of the culture of death that masquerades as the ideology of “choice.” May we and our elected officials be as principled and brave as the Polish officer who took what John Paul II described at the United Nations in 1995 as the “the risk of freedom.”