Senate Bill 175 withdrawn by Senate Democrats avoiding abortion debate

DENVER - A divisive abortion proposal suggested by Colorado Democrats was scuttled before it could come to a vote.

Senate Democrats abandoned Senate Bill 175 -- also known as the Reproductive Health Freedom Act -- Wednesday amid fears they wouldn't have the votes to pass the measure, which would have banned any state regulation of reproductive rights.

At least one Democrat had public concerns about the measure and all Republicans planned to vote against it. Democrats hold a slim one-seat majority in the Senate, so passage of the measure wasn't a sure thing.

Republicans and religious conservatives watching the debate applauded when Democrats abandoned the proposal. Opponents including the Catholic Archbishop of Denver feared the bill could threaten even basic health regulations on reproductive care.

The Archbishop of Denver released a statement late Wednesday night:

Dear Friends,

As I said yesterday after we prayed together on the steps of the State Capitol, I had no idea how much impact my letter would have on the people of Colorado. 

In just a few days we are able to raise a united front in opposition to Senate Bill 175 and in defense of unborn children, the most innocent of all people. Congratulations to the people of good will throughout Colorado who listened to God's call to be active in politics and to defend life at every stage! You are the ones who made a difference!

Thank you to all the families that came out in support of life, particularly mothers who came with their young children. Thank you to the seminarians, my brother priests, and the women religious who came to pray to Our Lord for his intercession. And of course, thank you to all the people of various faiths who work each and every day to be a leaven in society for the common good. We need you! Keep up the good work!

I also want to extend my deep gratitude to Father Ambrose Omayas of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver, who joined me in a particularly moving way on the steps of the State Capitol to pray and bless the people present. Thank you to my brother bishops, Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs and Bishop Stephen Berg of Pueblo, who joined with me to write a letter to all the State Senators. Additionally, thank you to Regis University president Fr. John Fitzgibbons, for publicly opposing SB175.

Holy Week is the time to turn our attention to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These holiest days of the year are a very important moment of memory. For the Catholic Christian, living the 'memory' of Christ is not like remembering some completed event that's now relegated to history; rather, the memory of Christ is someone present in our midst - in the sacraments, in our communities - and is the same as remembering who we are, and whose we are. He is our strength and our hope and the one who brings joy to the human heart!

Our hope lies not in the powers of government, nor the laws of man, but in the Resurrected God-Man who conquers the grave and never ceases to be present among us, His followers.

This is not the end of a political battle, but the beginning of a journey together in the Archdiocese of Denver. Let us continue to be people of hope. Let us continue to be a leaven in society. Let us continue to seek the Kingdom of God, helping one another, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

May God bless you and your families this Easter,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

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