New governor will be judged by his actions, Denver Archbishop says

Denver Archbishop, Charles Chaput
Denver Archbishop, Charles Chaput


Denver Archbishop, Charles Chaput, said this week that the newly inaugurated Democratic Governor of Colorado, who represented himself as a pro-life Catholic during elections, now faces the most difficult part of governorship, governing.  Governor Bill Ritter has faced criticism after he announced in his inaugural address that he would return tax-payer funding to Planned Parenthood.

Governor Ritter is attempting to reverse a ban enacted by former governor Bill Owens, who, after an independent audit, learned that state funds were indirectly subsidizing abortions.  The Colorado State Constitution states that no state money shall subsidize abortions. 

Chaput said in his weekly article that while the newly-elected Governor Ritter “packed a great deal of good will, good sense and hope into his first ‘state of the state’ message to Colorado legislators on Jan. 11” he now has to back up his words with actions. 

“In the long run, all of us — homemakers, shopkeepers, clergy, athletes and public officials — are judged by what we do, not by what we say. How our words translate into action shapes what we accomplish and what we become.” 

Archbishop Chaput quoted the new governor’s statement that he would judge each piece of legislation by considering, “How does this [bill] create a better future for our children and our children’s children?” 

“In that light,” the archbishop continued, “Mr. Ritter’s stated commitment to ‘restore eligibility requirements for state funding for pregnancy prevention and family planning programs’ is seriously flawed public policy.” 

“It’s hard to have a future ‘for our children and our children’s children’ without children, and in practice, Planned Parenthood specializes in the business of preventing them,” Chaput said. 

“Even more troubling,” he continued, “is Planned Parenthood’s long involvement in abortion ‘rights’ and the lethal services associated with them. Helping women kill their unborn children abuses the real well-being of women. It also violates the dignity of unborn children in a brutally intimate and permanent way.” 

Chaput noted a local news report which stated that the governor “would take steps to allow organizations such as Planned Parenthood to get state funding again if they can prove state money isn’t used to fund abortions [emphasis added].”  Even if that is the case, the archbishop said, “it’s very hard to reconcile anyone who is ‘pro-life’ with any support for Planned Parenthood and its destructive record.” 

The archbishop said that the new governor has the right “to be taken at his word” but also has the responsibility to show citizens what he actually means by his words. 

However, Chaput added, even if Ritter intends to demand that Planned Parenthood prove state funds will not fund abortions, a segregation of funds merely eliminates the state’s “material support” for the killing of babies. 

“We urge the governor to reconsider pursuing this bad policy, and failing that, at a minimum, to be rigorous in the controls he places on state funding for family-planning services. No unborn child should be forced to die as a result of this flawed policy — precisely for the sake of the future ‘of our children and our children’s children,’” the archbishop concluded.

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