Sept. 17, 2014
DENVER – Saying “it goes too far and is too extreme,” 82 Colorado faith leaders today joined together in united opposition to Amendment 67, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban all abortions, including in cases of rape, incest and when the health of the mother is at risk. Among many of its far-reaching consequences, Amendment 67 would also restrict access to certain forms of birth control, and restrict access to in-vitro fertilization for women who want to have a family.
“This amendment would impose one religious viewpoint in our state constitution, when there are many religious perspectives on this issue, said Rev. Jann Halloran, president of the board of the Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which provides faith-based care and services to women. “We support the rights of conscience, and a woman’s capacity to make a personal decision with consultation from her doctor, her family, her clergy and her God.”
Signatories include representatives from Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist organizations and denominations, including Rev. Dr. Thomas V. Wolfe, President and CEO of The Iliff School of Theology; Rabbi Joseph R. Blackof Temple Emanuel in Denver; Rev. Amanda Henderson, executive director of the Colorado Interfaith Alliance; Rev. Sue Artt of theRocky Mountain Conference-United Church of Christ; and Rev. Nancy Bowen, Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
“There are several things that are upsetting about Amendment 67,” said RabbiBlack, who heads the largest Jewish congregation in the state. “The manipulative use of language confuses voters to make them think they are voting on behalf of women’s rights, when in fact it’s exactly the opposite. While my tradition upholds the sanctity of life, the life and health of the mother is always more important than that of a fetus. To claim that a fertilized egg is anything other than a potential life is to go against Jewish values. It is a dangerous precedent.”
“This amendment goes too far in criminalizing women and doctors, and intruding on private decisions regarding family planning, birth control and fertility treatments,” said Rev. Amanda Henderson, executive director of The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. “The Interfaith Alliance stands for freedom for all people to make decisions regarding their own faith and values, and we speak out when this freedom is threatened.”
A copy of the full statement follows. Link here to the list of 82 faith leaders who have signed on.
The Vote NO 67 coalition is broad-based, nonpartisan coalition of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, faith and civil rights leaders, attorneys, Latina, African-American and Asian-American organizations, and dozens of community groups.
More information, including a list of organizations that have also endorsed the Vote NO 67 campaign, can be found at www.VoteNO67.com.
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Statement To Oppose Amendment 67 By Colorado Faith Leaders
As faith leaders, we stand in opposition to Amendment 67. By establishing fertilized eggs as persons, this amendment will in effect outlaw and criminalize abortion under any circumstance, including rape, incest and the life and health risks of the mother. Amendment 67 would effectively put into the Colorado Constitution one religious position, negating other faithful perspectives on this issue. It would, therefore, take away the religious freedom of many people of faith who respect the private rights of women and families to make personal choices based upon their own conscience.
We believe religious freedom is one of the foundations of our democracy, and one religious belief or doctrine should not be written into the state Constitution. There are many religious perspectives on this issue, and many Christian, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist and other people of faith agree strongly that a woman can make a faithful decision for an abortion under many circumstances, a decision that is loving, fair, and ethical based upon her own personal medical history, beliefs and needs.
These issues of reproductive justice are played out in public, but we know as clergy that individual women and their families are the ones who suffer in private. We have walked with women who have been abused and violated, and we have struggled with women and families who must make heartrending decisions about their own lives and the future of their families.
We respect open and public dialogue on these issues which affect public policy and the common good, and which include religious perspectives. We do not agree among ourselves as to where each line needs to be drawn, but Amendment 67 goes too far and is too extreme, leaving no ground for the protection of women nor their personal ethical agency to make decisions based upon advice from their doctors, support from their clergy, and their relationship with God.
Please stand with us and vote NO on Amendment 67.