Thousands of abortion opponents rallied outside the Colorado state Capitol on Saturday afternoon for the “2020 Celebrate Life Rally.”
The gathering is an annual event, but this year it had a new focus -- speakers and attendees repeatedly touted Initiative 120, which would ban on abortions in Colorado after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Initiative supporters must turn in 124,632 valid signatures by March 4 in order to qualify for the November ballot.
“We are not going to rest because what started in Colorado will end in Colorado,” said David Bereit, co-founder of 40 Days For Life, a Christian non-profit that campaigns against abortion. “Colorado has tried other ballot initiatives on the pro-life side in the past that have failed. This is the one that a large majority of people agree upon.”
In 1967 Colorado became the first state to decriminalize abortion in limited instances. It currently doesn’t have any restrictions on when in a pregnancy a woman can get an abortion.
Valentina Rossi from Aurora said she grew up in a pro-choice home but her opinion on abortion changed when she learned about the definition of a cell -- the smallest unit of life. She said she doesn’t support any kind of abortion and will vote for Initiative 120 if it makes the ballot.
“It’s a step in the right direction but I hope we can move to protect all life,” Rossi said. “I just hope it’s not the end.”
Ralliers marched from the Capitol to Colfax Avenue, around Civic Center Park and then back. They carried signs that read, “Civil rights begin in the womb” and “I am the pro-life generation.” Others held 6-foot-high images of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Trina Rios of Arvada attended the rally with her husband and daughter, who identify as Catholic.
“We believe that all life should be respected, especially because God created all of us and loves us and we don’t believe that abortion is right,” Rios said.
Her husband Joseph said he’s going to pray that Initiative 120 makes the ballot and passes.
“Life does begin at conception,” he said. “Even though the legislators want to play God, we can’t play God.”
Barbara Tekip of Littleton shared similar sentiments. But she acknowledged the political reality of passing legislation that restricts abortions in Colorado, an increasingly blue state.
“I do think that abortion is probably here to stay,” she said. But when it comes to abortions after 22 weeks, “I just don’t understand. If you’re going to do it, why wait that long? I know there’s reasons and I feel sorry for women that are in that situation. But if it’s a reason of just inconvenience, I just would pray that people would let the child live and be adopted.”
Supporters of keeping abortion legal throughout pregnancy point out that some of the most severe developmental problems aren't diagnosed until a fetus is well into the second or third trimester.
Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila spoke to attendees about how many years ago he worked in a hospital and saw fetuses after abortions were performed. He said that experience is what pushed him to be pro-life.
“It is tragic and I remember being stunned,” he said. “Only persons whose consciousnesses are dead, who have no conscience, can participate in such things.”