Catholic bishops say Colorado lawmakers who voted in favor of abortion bill should not take communion

The Colorado Catholic Conference representing Colorado bishops sent a letter to state lawmakers who voted for an abortion bill to voluntarily not take communion until they publicly repent and receive forgiveness through confession.

The Colorado Legislature passed HB22-1279 in March and it was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in April. The law, dubbed the Reproductive Health Equity Act, codifies the right to get an abortion without government interference. Democratic lawmakers pursued the legislation as it became more likely that conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. That way, getting an abortion would still be legal in Colorado.

The law specifies that people can choose what to do about their own pregnancies whether that’s in vitro fertilization or termination, and it passed the chambers with no Republican support and opposition from groups, including the Colorado Catholic Conference. It also makes clear that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus doesn’t have independent or derivative rights under state law.

“Voting for RHEA was participating in a gravely sinful action because it facilitates the killing of innocent unborn babies, and those Catholic politicians who have done so have very likely placed themselves outside of the communion of the Church,” the letter stated.

The letter continued: “Until public repentance takes place and sacramental absolution is received in Confession, we ask that those Catholic legislators who live or worship in Colorado and who have voted for RHEA, to voluntarily refrain from receiving Holy Communion.”

The letter thanked the Catholic Republican lawmakers who voted against the bill, Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, Sen. Kevin Priola, Sen. Jim Smallwood and Rep. Andres Pico.

It was signed by the Archbishop of Denver Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of Pueblo Stephen J. Berg, Bishop of Colorado Springs James R. Golka and Auxiliary Bishop of Denver Jorge H. Rodriguez.

In May, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone banned U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion because of her support of abortion rights.

But according to results from an Associated Press-NORC Center poll conducted in mid-May, there is a gap between the stances of conservative church leaders and American Catholics’ views. In the poll, 63% of Catholic adults said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 68% that Roe should remain as is. Thirty-one percent of poll respondents said politicians supporting abortion rights should be denied communion.

This story will be updated.

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