Parish church in northern Colorado tagged with pro-abortion graffiti; police investigating

Vandalism at St. John XXIII parish in Fort Collins, Colo., May 7, 2022. Vandalism at St. John XXIII parish in Fort Collins, Colo., May 7, 2022. | Eileen Pulse

A Catholic parish church in northern Colorado known for its active pro-life ministry was vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti over the weekend. 

St. John XXIII parish in Fort Collins, about an hour north of Denver, was the latest target in Colorado following similar graffiti discovered at a parish in Boulder several days prior. 

Images shared with CNA show red spray-painted inscriptions of “My Body My Choice” and a symbol that appears to be an “A” signifying “anarchy.” Police said the incident took place around 1:15 am on Saturday, May 7, and that some “exterior glass panels” were also broken. 

St. John XXIII is located close to the campus of Colorado State University, and has served many of the college’s Catholic students since its founding in the 1960s. The parish is situated just around the corner from a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. 

Luke Hecker, a project manager at the parish, told CNA that the parish is known for its pro-life advocacy, with parishoners frequently crossing the street to protest peacefully outside the abortion clinic, directly across from the college. 

Hecker said he was “saddened, but not overly surprised” that the parish was targeted. 

“It’s very evident to the community that John XXIII is a very pro-life parish,” he said, noting that the parish is currently fundraising with Catholic Charities and Marisol Health to open a pro-life pregnancy center in a vacant building it owns next door. 

The graffiti incident comes following the revelation May 2 of a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court, suggesting that the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would allow states to curtail or outlaw abortion. 

Fort Collins police announced an investigation into the incident and said that due to the location and nature of the graffiti content, they are investigating the incident as a bias-motivated crime. No damage was found within the church, police said, and the scene was processed for evidence. Police have not yet announced any suspects, but urged the public to share any information they have. 

"Using fear and destruction to make a point is completely unacceptable. If you want to make your voice heard, do it by exchanging thoughts and ideas, not by committing criminal acts," Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said in a statement. 

"We need anyone with information to come forward so this suspect can be held accountable,” he continued, urging anyone with information to contact police at

The look and style of the graffiti appears similar to that which appeared on a Catholic church building in nearby Boulder a few days prior. Sacred Heart of Mary Parish was defaced with pro-abortion slogans the evening of May 3, marking the second time in less than a year that the parish has been targeted with graffiti of this sort. 

Pro-abortion graffiti on the doors of Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Boulder, Colorado, on May 4, 2022. Archdiocese of Denver
Pro-abortion graffiti on the doors of Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Boulder, Colorado, on May 4, 2022. Archdiocese of Denver

Colorado has some of the nation’s most permissive abortion laws, codified by Gov. Jared Polis earlier this year. The state allows abortion up to the point of birth. Boulder, about an hour south of Fort Collins, is where Warren Hern, a prolific abortionist who has performed thousands of late term abortions, owns and operates his clinic. 

Spokesman Mark Haas told CNA that the Denver archdiocese has recorded at least 30 incidents of vandalism, property destruction, and theft since February 2020. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver was targeted with anti-Catholic slogans in October 2021. 

Ruth Sent Us, a pro-abortion online advocacy group, had threatened to disrupt Catholic Masses with pro-abortion protests on Sunday, Mother's Day. Protests did take place at churches in New York City and Los Angeles. 

The headquarters of a Madison pro-life organization — Wisconsin Family Action — was set ablaze in an apparent arson attack, police said Sunday. No one was hurt. Graffiti left outside the building said, "If abortions aren't safe you aren't either."

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Reports of vandalism at churches and other Catholic sites appear to have increased in recent years, amid the pandemic, political protests, and civil unrest. While some crimes against churches appear to be committed by those suffering from mental illness or by juveniles, other crimes appear to be motivated by anti-Catholic animus or support for abortion. 

There was a rash of reports in the weeks leading up to March of this year, which included vandalism to Catholic church buildings, schools, and cemeteries. 

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