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HB22-1279 Reproductive Health Equity Act: Testimony of Bishop Berg

On Thursday, March 17, 2022 Bishop Berg testified before the Colorado Senators. What follows is his testimony.

Thank you, Chairman Lee and esteemed members of the committee. I am Stephen Berg, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo. Our diocese covers southern Colorado, and the western slope south of I-70. I testify on behalf of my diocese to implore you to vote NO on HB 1279. The issue is about the life of a human being.

In 2020, my fellow Colorado bishops and I supported Senate Bill 20-100 that repealed Colorado’s capital punishment and promoted human dignity. It is disturbing to me that upon abolishing the death penalty we are now seeking to pass this most extreme and unrestricted abortion law in our state. Under this bill it is now being proposed that the fully formed child in the womb has “no independent or derivative rights” in the state of Colorado. Pre-born children will live under that same death sentence which we voted to abolish in 2020, under this unrestricted HB 1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act.

"The issue is about the life of a human being."

In my diocese we have 19 ecumenical Caring Pregnancy Centers which collaborate with our 92 parishes and missions which do amazing work for young mothers in distress, as well as the fathers and, of course, the children. It would be my dream that we could be debating how we could help them in our state with our legislation. It is distressing that the legal solution proposed to the complicated situation of unplanned pregnancies is simply to eliminate the most vulnerable of all the vulnerable among us, the unborn child.

HB 1279 is about competing rights. The child’s right to life and the woman’s right to liberty. Without life, there is no liberty. Could any of us accept this sentence of life or death if placed upon ourselves, according to another’s individual decision or choice, or ruling by our state?

"Without life, there is no liberty."

We object to abortion on the principle that every human life has inherent dignity and must be treated with the respect due to a human person. Science affirms that human life begins at conception. It would be my dream that all could be converted, and legislation enacted, to educate and support all of our brothers and sisters in the ways in which these children could be protected, saved, and granted life, through adoption to families so willing to take them in love. After all, this is life. Is there anything more important than that? Isn’t that what we are about?

I beg the committee to vote NO on House Bill 1279.Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo

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