Denver Archbishop Challenges Governor Over Proposed Funding to Abortion Clinics

By Gudrun Schultz

DENVER, Colorado, January 17, 2007 ( - Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s proposal to restore state funding to Planned Parenthood clinics did not sit well with Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who challenged Ritter, a Catholic, to ensure his actions in office reflected his stated beliefs. Ritter ran as a pro-life candidate in the recent election.

  Ritter proposed last week to lift the current ban on state funding for abortion providers if organizations can show the funds will be kept strictly for the use of family planning programs and will not go to fund abortions.

  Previous Governor Bill Owens, also a Catholic, instituted an order preventing organizations that perform abortions from receiving state funding for family planning and pregnancy prevention programs, under a state amendment to the constitution that prohibits any state subsidizing of abortion. 

“Mr. Ritter’s stated commitment to ‘restore eligibility requirements for state funding for pregnancy prevention and family planning programs’ is seriously flawed public policy,” wrote Archbishop Chaput in his column in this week’s Denver Catholic Register.

“It’s hard to have a future "for our children and our children’s children" without children, and in practice, Planned Parenthood specializes in the business of preventing them,” the archbishop stated, referring to Ritter’s pledge to create a better future for coming generations, in his State of the State address last week.

“Even more troubling is Planned Parenthood’s long involvement in abortion ‘rights’ and the lethal services associated with them. Helping women kill their unborn children abuses the real well-being of women. It also violates the dignity of unborn children in a brutally intimate and permanent way.”

  Evan Dreyer, spokesman for the governor, told the Denver Post that only family-planning groups showing they could ensure state funds would not be spent on abortions would be eligible for state subsidies.

"The archbishop and the governor agree on certain aspects of this issue," Dreyer said. "The governor believes strongly it is good public policy to attempt to reduce unintended pregnancies, and that is his goal."

  While Archbishop Chaput said it was reasonable to believe Mr. Ritter’s statement that he is pro-life, since he “has been engaged and active in his Catholic faith for many years, and remains so,” he also said it was difficult to reconcile a pro-life position with any support for Planned Parenthood and its “destructive record.”

“What his words do actually mean will become clear in the demands he places on Planned Parenthood for proof that state funds truly are segregated from abortion services and don’t materially support the killing of unborn children," Chaput wrote.

“We urge the governor to reconsider pursuing this bad policy, and failing that, at a minimum, to be rigorous in the controls he places on state funding for family-planning services,” Archbishop Chaput said, although he emphasized that it would be very difficult to do so.

“No unborn child should be forced to die as a result of this flawed policy - precisely for the sake of the future "of our children and our children’s children."

  Planned Parenthood lost almost $400,000 in state funding after the ban was instituted under the Owens administration, according to the Denver Post report.

  Archbishop Chaput is known as one of the most outspoken Catholic leaders on pro-life issues in the U.S. He has made it clear that Catholic politicians must not support anything contradicting traditional Christian moral principles while in public office.

  See Archbishop Chaput’s column in the Denver Catholic Register:

  See coverage by the Denver Post:

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

"Democracy is not God. Only God is God", Says Archbishop Chaput

  U.S. Bishop Chaput Lambasts Pro-Abortion Catholic Democrat

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