Catholic bishops in the state have issued a letter to lawmakers who voted in favor of an abortion rights bill to refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

Colorado Catholic bishops have come together to condemn lawmakers in the state who voted for an abortion rights legislation earlier this year and urged them to "voluntarily refrain from Holy Communion," a letter dated June 7 read. The letter was signed on Monday by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, Bishop Stephen Berg of Pueblo, Bishop James Golka of Colorado Springs and Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez.

The group of Colorado Catholic bishops argued that voting for the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) or HB 22-1279, which was signed into law on April 4, was commensurable to "participating in a gravely sinful action because it facilitates the killing of innocent unborn babies," Fox News reported.

The church leaders added that these pro-abortion lawmakers "have very likely placed themselves outside of the communion of the Church."

Also Read: Archbishop Declares Prominent Catholics Who Support Abortion Should Be Denied Communion

Colorado Law Protects Abortion Rights, Disregards Embryo or Fetus

The recently passed Colorado abortion law not only created a "fundamental right" to abortion and other forms of "reproductive healthcare rights," but also denied any rights to an embryo or fetus. According to the National Catholic Register, the Colorado Catholic bishops argued that the pro-abortion law treats the unborn as "worth less than those who have the gift of being born" and that it explicitly denies the rights of unborn infants, adding that a "fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of the state."

RHEA prohibits any state and local public entities from "denying, restricting, interfering with, or discriminating against" a person's right to use contraception, have an abortion, or giving birth. The Colorado Catholic bishops said that hundreds had testified against the pro-abortion bill in the state House and Senate. The church leaders also invited pro-abortion lawmakers to a discussion to "ensure that they understand the Church's teaching on receiving Holy Communion," but only a few have responded.

Church Leaders Condemn Colorado Pro-Abortion Lawmakers

Colorado Catholic Conference executive director Brittany Vessely estimated that there are about 10 baptized Catholic pro-abortion lawmakers who voted for RHEA, the Religion News Service reported. They believe that their letter urging pro-abortion lawmakers to refrain from Communion will place the burden of the decison on the "consciences and souls" of the legislators who chose to "support this evil and unjust law" rather than on leaders of the church. The Colorado Catholic bishops also expressed their hope that the pro-abortion lawmakers would "publicly repent and seek absolution" for voting for the abortion rights law.

The Colorado Catholic bishops added that they hoped the letter would inspire "sincere reflection and conversion" among pro-abortion lawmakers. This is not the first time the conservative church leaders spoke out against political leaders. In May, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and three other bishops prohibited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving Communion within his jurisdiction over her support for abortion rights. In December 2020, several Catholic bishops openly opposed COVID vaccines that were developed using fetal cells from aborted fetuses, labeling them as "ethically unacceptable."

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