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Statement by Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, CFC Acting President at Interfaith Alliance of Colorado NO on 115 Press Call

September 11, 2020

Remarks by Catholics for Choice Acting President Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe for the Colorado Interfaith Alliance press conference NO on 115.

Thank you to the Interfaith Alliance for bringing us together today. I’m grateful and honored to stand with my fellow faith leaders in Colorado to say, “NO on 115.”

Catholics for Choice lifts up the voice of the millions of Catholics across the US—the vast majority of Catholics the 70 million US Catholics—including nearly 900,000 in Colorado—who disagree with the bishops on reproductive health issues.

We represent and raise the voices of local Catholics from every walk of life to declare that they will vote NO on Prop 115 because it flies in the face of personal, private medical decisions that are best left to a woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith.

Our Catholic faith teaches that each woman is a person with rights, responsibilities and a conscience.  Based on her own evaluation of her circumstances, based on her own beliefs, only she can make the best decision for herself—not politicians, not bishops.

As Catholics we are called to follow our conscience in moral decision-making, including abortion. My faith leads me to a deep respect for all life and every person’s conscience. The majority of Catholics agree, we are prochoice because our Catholic faith obligates us to follow our conscience and calls upon us to respect others’ right to do the same. Decisions about reproductive healthcare must be guided by an individual’s conscience, but Prop 115 would deny with this.

Prop 115 is wrong for Colorado—and it’s wrong for Catholics.

This ill-conceived measure is a back-door ban supported by the very same individuals who seek make abortion illegal in nearly all circumstances.  This callous measure would deny a woman the right to make her own personal, private medical decisions including important decisions about whether or not to end a pregnancy that threatens her health.  Politicians should not interfere in a woman’s intimate personal decisions. Prop 115 goes too far by intruding on those personal decisions.

Catholic social justice teaching compels us to fight for the marginalized in our society.  Prop 115 would most harm the poorest Coloradans by banning the healthcare services they need in times of great stress and soul searching.  As a Catholic, I have a responsibility to stand with each and every woman who seeks to make decisions about her own reproductive life.

Those who claim to speak for all Catholics in Colorado on this measure are pushing Prop 115 which attempts to shame, judge and punish women who need reproductive healthcare. It would interfere with women’s conscience-based decisions and moral agency.  It is wrong for anyone—priest or politician—to impose their beliefs about religion and morality on anyone else.  That’s what this ballot measure does, so I urge Colorado Catholics to vote no.

There are eight Sundays between now and Election Day.  On one—or several—of them, some in the Catholic hierarchy are more than likely to say it is our duty to vote the way they tell you to vote.  I have faith that each and every Catholic in Colorado will listen not to those seeking to impose their will on others, but will listen to that still, quiet voice inside each of us and vote your conscience.

For decades now, the Catholic hierarchy has discarded broader social justice teaching and sought political advantage by focusing on a single issue.  In doing so, they certainly DO NOT speak for the vast majority of Catholics—nearly 900,000 in Colorado.  We know Catholics will listen to their conscience first and last when deciding what is right. That’s why I am sure, when it comes to the ballot on Prop 115, Colorado Catholics will vote NO.