As HB22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), made its way through the legislature, there was a strong outcry against it. Thousands of people wrote to their lawmakers. Over 350 people testified against RHEA in the House and more than 215 testified against it in the Senate into the early hours of the morning. RHEA allows for abortion from conception until birth and for any reason, including the child’s race, sex, or a disability.
According to some of the lawmakers supporting RHEA, this new law is designed to make our state an abortion destination and “safe haven.” They expect pregnant mothers to come flooding in from surrounding states for abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned. It causes us profound sadness and distress to know that some Catholic legislators voted for this.
We have a strong desire to discuss the spiritual and cultural impact of laws like RHEA with politicians of both parties who say they are Catholic and who represent people in our state. As their shepherds we want to ensure that they understand the Church’s teaching on receiving Holy Communion and the proper spiritual disposition for doing so. Efforts have already been made to speak with several of these lawmakers, but unfortunately, very few of them have accepted the invitation to meet.
During the voting on the Reproductive Health Equity Act, it became clear by their public votes that several Catholic lawmakers support ending the lives of unborn children and declaring that a “fertilized egg, embryo or fetus” has no “independent or derivative rights” in Colorado. These pre-born babies are worth less than those who have had the gift of being born, according to this morally bankrupt logic. At the same time, we would like to publicly thank state Senators Barbara Kirkmeyer, Kevin Priola and Jim Smallwood and Representative Andres Pico, Catholic lawmakers who voted to protect the unborn and against allowing our state to strip them of their God-given right to life.
Voting for RHEA was participating in a gravely sinful action because it facilitates the killing of innocent unborn babies, and those Catholic politicians who have done so have very likely placed themselves outside of the communion of the Church.
As we said with our fellow U.S. Bishops in our recent statement "The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,"