Blog: News Update – June, 2019
Dear Friend of CoRCRC,
In the first few months of this year, Mississippi approved the earliest abortion ban in the country, Kentucky attempted to ban a procedure used in second-trimester abortions, and lawmakers from South Carolina to Ohio began considering the complete and total prohibition of abortion. Multiple states have been rushing to restrict abortion, with the hope that challenges to the bans will be appealed in the conservative-leaning Supreme Court and will cause them to reconsider Roe v. Wade.
Abortion is a highly personal decision that many women are sure they’ll never have to think about until they’re suddenly faced with an unintended pregnancy. But this can happen to anyone. In order to protect reproductive rights and safe access to legal abortion, we must actively work to separate church and state. Our country is in jeopardy because the Christian Right wants a theocracy, not a democracy. We need to come together to fight this, or things will get worse.
It is also not enough to simply have access to legal abortion, but we need to work to ensure reproductive justice and equity for all. Persons of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, income levels must have access to a full range of health care services, including family planning and other reproductive healthcare. Since 1976 the Hyde amendment has blocked the use of taxpayer funds for abortion services, with very narrow exceptions. Many private insurance plans also do not cover abortion, and a pregnant person must face the hard choice to either carry the pregnancy to term or pay for care out of pocket.
Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (CoRCRC) is a part of a national organization that brings together pro-choice faith leaders and summons the moral force of religion to protect reproductive choice by offering access to abortion, sex education, and contraception. At the heart of our work is pastoral care training, which equips spiritual leaders to give non-judgmental, all-options counseling to women with unintended pregnancies to help them come to the right decision for their conscience and circumstance, rather than pressuring them with shame, dogma, and anti-abortion pseudo-science.
Our coalition rejects the shame and stigma that religious conservatives have long attached to reproduction and sex. We are religious communities that recognize the sacredness of sex and sexuality and believe all people have God-given rights and capabilities to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. We will continue to stand firm for women’s right to choose. We believe religious liberty must include the right of a woman to make thoughtful decisions in private consultation with her doctor, her family, and her faith. The beliefs of others should not interfere.
Are abortions outlawed in Alabama? Could miscarriages lead to person being jailed? No, and no, but misconceptions and misinformation have grown rampant since abortion legislation in Alabama and Georgia ascended in the news cycle this past month. Fear has spread, information has been misconstrued and criminal penalties have been misstated.
Here are the facts. Neither Alabama’s proposed ban nor Georgia’s abortion law is currently in effect. The Georgia law is scheduled to become enforceable in 2020, though it will be challenged in court before then. Alabama’s proposed bill explicitly states that women are exempt from criminal and civil liability. Instead, the law targets doctors, who can be prosecuted for performing an abortion, a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment. Georgia’s law is more complex. The bill could not be used to successfully prosecute a person but if had a miscarriage, they could be pulled into an investigation looking at whether someone performed an illegal abortion on them.
None of the recent laws has yet taken effect. Supporters of the Alabama bill don’t expect it to, and instead hope it sets up a challenge in the Supreme Court that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. Read this list of bills restricting abortion, passed in 2019 alone. As supporter of CoRCRC, we must understand the immense challenge we face to fight against these laws and against the stigma associated with abortion. We must make it known that religious affiliation or belief is not synonymous with being anti-choice and pro-forced birth.
Points of Action:
ACLU of Colorado and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains: Repro Roadshow – Denver
JOIN US to learn how the Colorado Reproductive Health Rights and Justice Coalition is working to preserve and strengthen reproductive rights in Colorado. Participants will get a primer on abortion stigma and how it intersects with advocacy work, learn about abortion services at Planned Parenthood, and hear tips on how to be a good ally to abortion providers. We’ll give you 2019 legislative update and how you can help bring comprehensive sexual education into your schools.
Where: Auraria Campus, Denver
When: Wednesday, June 19 at 12:00pm
Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition – CIRC: The Dream and Promise Act Needs a Champion!
As of June 4th, 2019 The Dream and Promise Act has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and is headed to the U.S. Senate. Join us in asking Senator Cory Gardner to be a champion for Dreamers in sponsoring The Dream and Promise Act of 2019.
Where: 1961 Stout Street, Suite #12-300, Denver
When: Wednesday, June 19 at 3:00pm
World Refugee Day Colorado 2019 – Celebration Rally
Join us on the Colorado State Capitol’s West Steps to honor the spirit and courage of millions of refugees worldwide. During the rally, we will recognize the contributions refugees make to Colorado, the talents they bring, and celebrate the many partnerships that make our state a welcoming place for newcomers. Celebrate with us with world music, dancing, refugee speakers and much more!
Where: Colorado State Capitol
When: Thursday, June 20 at 10:00am
LAD Impact 2019
It’s been nearly three months since Latino/a Advocacy Day 2019. If you’re wondering what happened to the bills we discussed, and what else we can do in between now and LAD 2020 on March 9, we have the perfect event for you! On Saturday, June 22, 2019 join COLOR and our fellow co-conveners for LAD Impact 2019: an opportunity to come together, debrief, and discuss how we continue to move policy forward together as a community. The work continues! Lunch and translation will be provided.
Where: St. Cajetan’s, 101 Lawrence Way, Denver
When: Saturday, June 22 at 10:00am
2019 One Colorado For All Statewide Tour – Durango
We’ve accomplished so much together, especially over the last year. A lot of folks have been asking: “We’ve elected our country’s first gay governor, our state’s first transgender lawmaker, and have a pro-equality majority in the state legislature. What’s next?” “We’re going to pass the conversion therapy ban this year, so what’s next?” “We have third gender options on birth certificates and driver’s licenses. What do we work on next?” We are excited to announce our 2019 One Colorado For All Statewide Tour with seventeen stops all across the state, taking us from Grand Junction to Fort Collins, from Steamboat to Alamosa, from Pueblo to Aspen.
Where: Durango Parks and Recreation, Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 Main Ave, Durango
When: Sunday, June 23 at 2:00pm
Meet Reverend Katey Zeh, National RCRC’s newest Executive Director
As we face the stark challenges of the political moment, organizations and individuals defending health, rights, and social justice need each other more than ever. RCRC invites you to get to know our new Interim Executive Director, Rev. Katey Zeh.
Rev. Zeh is a Baptist minister, a scholar, a writer and a leader in the broader reproductive health, choice, rights and justice movement. Her recent writings include an article on why and how to talk about abortion in the pulpit and a book, Women Rise Up: Sacred Stories of Resistance for Today’s Revolution. Her past experience includes serving on RCRC’s board as a member and chair, including in times of transition.
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