I want to extend my deep gratitude to all of you, too all people of good will in the state of Colorado. Little did I know what impact my letter would have on the people of Colorado. Very few were aware of Senate Bill 175 last Friday.
I want to extend my deep gratitude to my Orthodox brother [Father Ambrose Omayas, assistant administrator of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver] who is here, and to all have you who have shown up today to express our concerns with SB 175.
It is important for all of you to give witness, to call your state legislators, both in the senate and in the house, to protest this bill.
Let me clear the air. There have been accusations that some of my comments asserting Senate Bill 175 have not been true. Primarily, it was deemed false that this bill would eliminate regulations on abortion clinics. The fact is that there is nothing in the bill, and for those of you who have read the bill, you are aware of this, that says that this law won’t impact current regulations already in place.
If the intent of the bill is not to change current law, then it should state that explicitly in its language. The main concern that many have about this bill is that is both extreme and dangerously ambiguous. Contrary to what some reports may have tried to pass off as factual, this legislation does indeed open the door to challenge existing regulations, particularly through the court system. Anyone who claims that this law will have no material affect is either naïve or disingenuous.
During this Senate committee testimony this past Thursday on this bill, lawyers and legal experts were split whether it would impact existing laws. What was most telling was to hear the drafter of the bill say that he did not know with 100% certainty that Senate Bill 175 wouldn’t impact current policies.
He told one reporter that he was ‘pretty sure’ but pretty sure does not work! [Applause] This is another case of let’s pass it and then see what happens. And that cannot happen in our state. [Applause]
Even more troubling is that this bill would make enacting laws such as those concerning ultrasounds requirements extraordinarily difficult if not impossible. Coloradans are not against common sense regulations on abortions, and they should have the opportunity to be able to debate and pass those regulations rather than using stealth methods that are being used today on this bill. [Applause]
I encourage you to first to continue to pray: pray that the truth will triumph. Pray that the conversion of the hearts of those who are closed to hearing the truth may be open. Pray that the spirit of truth may enter into the halls of this building. And that the spirit of truth will triumph.
All people of good will should desire the truth. If you do not desire the truth, then that means you are leaving everything up to human beings.
It is important too that each of you participate in the political system because you have made an impact. Some of the senators have said they have shut off their phones, some of them said they have never been contacted by so many. [Applause] And you can make a difference. Too many times we have taken a backseat, and Catholics, Christians, and people of good will can no longer take a back seat! [Applause]
We are called to work for the good and for the true. As your archbishop and as a fellow Christian and believer, I can only give you encouragement. But you the laity are the ones who are responsible for getting out to vote, for giving witness and for being the leaven in society.
I stand with you in prayer. But many people who have been calling have said: we do not even know who are senator is, or who our house of representative is. I guess it is important that we should vote. And yes it is! We are called, all of us, to be involved in the political process. And so I give you encouragement to go forward and to enter into the chambers themselves and listen to the debate.
Continue to contact your senators and your representatives and the governor. And most of all, participate in the political system and be sure to vote, and always vote your conscience. Not the ideology of either political party. This is not a party matter. [Applause] It is a matter of truth and of common sense.
And so it is important that we all continue to give witness. I thank you again for all of you have shown up, please continue to pray and pray especially for the defeat of SB 175. Thank you. [Applause]
Let us pray, Lord our God, we come before you trusting in your mercy and in your love. We beg you to pour forth the gift of your Spirit upon all of us gathered here. Fill this building with your Holy Spirit and move the minds and the heart and the consciences, even those that are hardened, that they may come to know your truth, and come to know you. We pray oh Lord for a deeper respect for the gift of life. We pray for honesty, integrity and character in seeking the common good for all peoples. Guide all of us who are present here and we pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.