Colorado Catholic Conference Hedges on Abortion-Personhood Amendment

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 29, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Catholic Conference Hedges on Abortion-Personhood Amendment Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 29
, 2008

Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — There’s a bit of confusion in Colorado as to whether Catholic leaders have signed on to support a statewide constitutional amendment endorsing personhood for unborn children that could pave the way to prohibiting abortions. The group sponsoring the amendment says the Catholic bishops are supportive, but the Catholic Conference disagrees.

Colorado for Equal Rights organizer Keith Mason, who is leading the initiative drive, has issued a statement Wednesday listing the three Colorado bishops as personally supporting the personhood amendment.

However, the Colorado Catholic Conference release a message Thursday saying that wasn’t the case.

Mason said that Pueblo Bishop Arthur Tafoya, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput had "personally expressed their support."

But Catholic Conference executive director Jennifer Kraska told the Denver Post that "seriously misrepresents" the views of the bishops on the amendment.

The Catholic bishops are in a delicate position, Kraska told the newspaper.

She indicated they support the principle behind the personhood amendment, which recognizes unborn children as persons under law from conception on, but she said they have concerns over the strategy.

Kraska indicated they are worried that the Supreme Court, which has a pro-abortion majority, would declare the amendment unconstitutional and it would further entrench the Roe v. Wade decision allowing virtually unlimited abortions.

"We commend the goal of this effort to end abortion. Individual Catholics may choose to work for its passage," Kraska said. "At the same time, we recognize that other people committed to the sanctity of life have raised serious questions about this specific amendment’s timing and content."

Mason responded to Kraska’s remarks in a statement sent to LifeNews.com on Friday.

"We welcome the interest of the Colorado Catholic Conference," he said.

He also said he was pleased Archbishop Chaput had issued a letter saying Catholic parishioners could sign the petitions to qualify the personhood amendment for the November ballot.

"Archbishop Chaput’s letter allowing Catholic priests and parishes across Colorado to support personhood on a case-by-case basis is an important first step – one which Catholic and Protestant pro-lifers appreciate," Mason told LifeNews.com.

The Colorado Catholic Conference had also expressed concerned about the ability of Mason’s group to organize the people and funding necessary to qualify the measure and combat the hundreds of thousands of dollars abortion advocates will throw at it.

Mason told LifeNews.com that "over 274 churches have signed on in support of personhood, over 856 petition gatherers across Colorado are working hard to make a difference."

He said Colorado for Equal Rights has raised over $110,000 and has gathered over 30,000 signatures.

The personhood amendment states "(t)he term ‘Person’ or ‘Persons’ shall include any human from the time of fertilization."