Why my faith leads me to oppose Proposition 115

Women have a right to bodily autonomy

People attend a "Fight4Her" pro-choice rally in front of the White House at Lafayette Square on March 29, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

As a pastor, father, grandfather, infant foster care provider, and person of faith, I care very deeply about the sacredness of life. It is out of that caring and my faith that I am led to speak out on Proposition 115 — the ballot measure that seeks to criminalize and ban abortions later in pregnancy in our state.

For far too long, the faith-based narrative around the topic of abortion has been dominated by a loud but vocal minority that seeks to restrict and remove access to essential health care. As a person of faith and a Christian minister, I believe abortion is a moral issue and an issue of reproductive justice for women.

Our scriptures teach us that we are created in the image of God and that God has given us free will with regard to our bodies and the choices that affect our bodies. My faith guides me to support a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and to make medical decisions that are right for her and for her family.

My faith guides me to support a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and to make medical decisions that are right for her and for her family.
In the 30-plus years of fostering over 155 newborns, my wife and I have seen firsthand that each woman’s pregnancy is different and the circumstances of each person’s life are unique. The giving of life by using one’s own body is a moral choice involving many different factors, which differ substantially from woman to woman. This nuanced choice belongs to the woman in consultation with her family and her health care providers.

Sadly, Proposition 115 would force a woman to continue a pregnancy with no exception for risks to her health, a lethal fetal diagnosis, or even in cases of incest and rape. Only if a woman’s life is imminently threatened would any exception be made. Again, this kind of one-size-fits-all mandate which overrules a doctor’s guidance, a woman’s autonomy, and basic human empathy is an absolute affront to the most basic call to treat others with dignity and decency.

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We must also acknowledge that we are living in historically unprecedented circumstances. Now more than ever, we must meet those seeking abortion care with compassion, grace and unhindered access to the best available care. This measure would be inappropriate in the best of times, but it is an especially egregious and cruel mandate to propose in the midst of a pandemic and a corresponding economic crisis.

We know that abortion bans disproportionately affect marginalized groups already struggling to access health care and other critical services. We also know that these very same groups are bearing the brunt of the burden of the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus crisis. In these trying times, we should be doing everything within our power to ensure that we do not erect additional barriers to health care. Proposition 115 would do just that.

Proposition 115 is a deceptive end-around run by the same politicians and special interest groups that have repeatedly tried and failed to ban abortion more than 10 times in Colorado over the past decade. It is my conviction that the focus of government is to create and uphold the conditions for healthy and thriving life, not to police a woman’s individual medical choices concerning her own body. Just six months ago, in fact, I testified against this very bill when it was being heard and subsequently defeated in the Colorado House.

Colorado voters, seeing through this façade, have already rejected abortion bans three times on past ballots.

For these reasons, as a pastor, as a person of deep faith and spiritual conviction, and as a citizen devoted to justice and liberation for all, I stand opposed to Proposition 115.