In the News 2014
RH Reality Check

A Colorado Catholic Speaks Out Against Amendment 67

Jordan SauersAs a Latina Catholic and Coloradan, I care about my community. I hold a deep respect for all life, and an equally profound reverence for the respect due to every person’s conscience. I believe in social justice—the idea that each person has value, and that all of us have a moral duty to stand up for those who are poor and marginalized. I also believe in celebrating the diversity of beliefs held by my neighbors and friends by ensuring that each of us has freedom of and from religion. To me, these values are simply part of being a good person and a faithful Catholic. That’s why I am proud to be part of a statewide campaign of Catholics against Amendment 67.

Amendment 67 flies in the face of all my Catholic values. By banning birth control, abortion, and in vitro fertilization, this dangerous measure would prevent women from following their consciences when making critical moral decisions. By seeking to codify one narrow viewpoint on when life begins and whether abortion or contraception should be available, Amendment 67 would also prevent people from following their own beliefs—religious or otherwise—about these deeply personal issues. Bans on reproductive health care like Amendment 67 also particularly harm the poor and marginalized members of our communities, which is why such measures are unconscionable to me as a Coloradan and incompatible with my Catholic faith.

Throughout the Catholic tradition, from its earliest times to today, scholars, saints, and ordinary Catholics have had differing beliefs about when a developing life becomes a person. Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas, two important Catholic theologians, considered the fetus in the early stages of pregnancy to be a person.

Today, not a single opinion on the subject has been pronounced as the one true Catholic belief, because there isn’t one. There are 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, and 780,000 of us right here in Colorado—we will not always agree on all things. There is no doubt, however, that our faith teaches us that a woman is a person with rights, responsibilities, and a conscience that must guide her to make the best decision for herself in light of her circumstances and beliefs, and the vast majority of Catholics have taken this to heart.

You don’t have to take only my word for it. You can listen to my fellow Coloradans Alison,RubenKathyGina, and Mary Alice speaking out as Catholics who trust women to make these decisions for themselves with the support of family, faith, and friends they choose. Catholic civil rights and social justice champion Dolores Huerta lends her voice, too, reaching the community on the radio in English and Spanish.

At times, people are faced with the moral decision of continuing or terminating a pregnancy. For many women and men, the news of a pregnancy can be a cause for great joy, anxiety, or concern about this new life. Some experience all of these feelings, and they may change throughout a pregnancy. As a Catholic, I stand with my friends, family members, and neighbors by supporting their ability to make the decision that is best for them, even if it is not the same one I would make.

In countries where extreme proposals like Amendment 67 are the law, women suffer and die. In El Salvador, for instance, where the national constitution includes language similar to Amendment 67, more than 600 women have been jailed since 1998 for having abortions or miscarriages. This kind of extremism has no place in Colorado, a state that I love and where all people should be able to thrive.

As a pro-choice Catholic committed to social justice, I am speaking out—not in spite of my faith, but because of it. And I am proud to be part of a brave group of Catholics in Colorado and around the world who are doing the same. If you want to know what Catholics really think about the reproductive justice issues of abortion, contraception, and women’s moral autonomy, just listen to us—and stand with us in our struggle for justice for Colorado women.

This piece was originally published by RH Reality Check.

Catholics for Choice