Home Christian News Baptist Leaders Grieve Colorado Abortion Rights Law

Baptist Leaders Grieve Colorado Abortion Rights Law

James McNellis from Washington, DC, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

DENVER, Colo. (BP)—State and national leaders among Southern Baptists responded with dismay to a new Colorado law that codifies the right to abortion and called for Christians to advocate for unborn children.

Gov. Jared Polis signed into law Monday (April 4) the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which guarantees the decision to abort an unborn child is a “fundamental right” in Colorado. It also says “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights” under Colorado law and prohibits state and local governments – and any other “public entity” – from interfering with a woman’s right to an abortion.

Some opponents of the measure contend it goes so far as to legalize infanticide of newly born children.

Enactment of the Colorado law is the latest state action on the issue in efforts by both abortion-rights and pro-life advocates to prepare for a pending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. That ruling could reverse the justices’ nearly 50-year-old opinion that legalized abortion throughout the country.

Mike Proud, executive director of the Colorado Baptist General Convention, said Polis’ signing of the legislation was “incredibly heartbreaking.”

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“In a time when we hear politicians speaking voluminously about the imperative to view all lives as valuable, regardless of positions, backgrounds, or preferences, many of those same leaders are inconsistent with their own rhetoric,” Proud told Baptist Press in written comments.

“The Scriptures communicate the heart of God as truly giving value to human life, ALL human life,” he said. “As God’s people, we must fervently pray to the Father for Gospel transformation in the hearts of our leaders, and we must take up the cause of giving a voice to the voiceless.”

Southern Baptist public policy specialist Chelsea Sobolik said, “By taking this action, Colorado is proving that not only does the Supreme Court need to overrule the precedents set in [previous opinions], but it should take the next step to affirm a right to life for our most vulnerable neighbors.

“This Colorado law puts preborn lives and American consciences in jeopardy,” said Sobolik, director of public policy for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), in written remarks for BP. “Christians must continue to be on the forefront of caring for vulnerable women and children, and upholding the dignity and worth of every single person.”

The new law’s language has prompted warnings it would enable the withholding of medical care for a baby who survives an abortion or even allow the euthanization of a newborn.

In a March 24 editorial, The Colorado Springs Gazette urged Polis to veto the bill, saying it would establish “the country’s most radically anti-child, anti-minority law.” The law bars the government from restricting a person’s “reproductive health care,” which it defines to include “postnatal” care, The Gazette said.

“A ‘postnatal’ human is a newborn child – a full-fledged person with rights,” The Gazette editorial said. “The bill expressly forbids legal protection for newborns.”

RELATED: Planned Parenthood Promotes Abortion Rights Using a Children’s Ice Cream Truck

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision by this summer on a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation. Many pro-life and abortion-rights advocates believe the justices are likely not only to uphold the law but to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion that legalized the procedure nationwide. Such a ruling by the Supreme Court would return abortion policy to the states.