Colorado Bishops Refute Claims about Personhood Amendment

by Katie Daniels


In an October 23rd press release, Colorado’s three bishops refuted the organization Catholic’s for Choice’s campaign against a proposed ballot measure, Amendment 67. In a brief statement released by the Colorado Catholic Conference, which represents Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver, Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, and Bishop Stephen J. Berg of Pueblo, the bishops stated that Catholic’s for Choice’s claims were “riddled with inaccurate facts and statistics” and “must be corrected, since it misrepresents the truth and what the Church believes and teaches.”         

The bishops clarified that Catholic’s for Choice does not speak for the Catholic Church, observing that the group “only chooses those findings that agree with their dissent from Church teaching” and “[assumes] that the Church in Colorado supports Amendment 67, when in fact it has maintained a neutral stance.”

In their statewide media campaign in opposition to Amendment 67, Catholic’s for Choice claimed that 14% of Catholics believe that abortion is morally wrong and that 99% of Catholic women use birth control. The bishops cited “well-established research” from the Pew Research Center that finds “over half of American Catholics believe that abortion is morally wrong.”  The bishops also quoted the Washington Post’s fact checker Glenn Kesler, who has written that “The journalistic shorthand has been that ‘98 percent of American Catholic women have used contraception in their lifetimes.’ But that is incorrect, according to the research.”

Catholic’s for Choice also claimed that the Colorado bishops’ stance on abortion is “anathema to our Catholic traditions.” “Nothing could be further than the truth,” the Colorado Catholic Conference asserted. “Colorado’s bishops, like all Catholic bishops for 2,000 years, have steadfastly proclaimed that respect for all human life at every stage is foundational to the Catholic faith. Abortion from the earliest tradition of the Church has been immoral.”

“It is our hope that one day Catholic’s for Choice will take the time to acquaint themselves with basic Church teachings, and acknowledge the truth of the Catholic faith, and choose not to undermine her teachings with false and inaccurate information and ads that only work to mislead the public.”

Amendment 67, or the Colorado Definition of Person and Child Initiative, was a proposed ballot measure that would have included unborn human beings in the definition of a person in the Colorado criminal code. Personhood Colorado, the group behind the initiative, gathered over 140,000 signatures in support of putting the measure on the ballot. The required threshold is 86,105.

Amendment 67 has also been nicknamed “The Brady Project” after a drunk driver hit Heather Surovik’s car and killed her unborn son, Brady, a month before his due date. The driver was found guilty of vehicular assault, but was not prosecuted for the baby’s death. Catholic’s for Choice has campaigned against the measure on the grounds that including unborn human beings in the definition of a person in the state criminal code could lead to restrictions on abortion and certain forms of birth control.

The initiative did not pass in the November 4th midterm elections, with 35% of voters voting for and 64% voting against Amendment 67.


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