H/t Amy Welborn...
Colorado's governor is not what I would call pro-life:
Archbishop fires 1st salvo at Gov. Ritter
The Catholic leader blasts a plan to restore state funds to family-planning clinics that offer abortion.
By Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 01/16/2007 10:55:04 AM MST
Archbishop Charles Chaput opposes Gov. Bill Ritter's plan to restore state funding to Planned Parenthood. (Post)Less than a week after his inauguration, Gov. Bill Ritter is getting heat from the outspoken Catholic archbishop of Denver over a familiar topic: abortion.
In his column in this week's Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Charles Chaput calls the Democrat's pledge to lift eligibility restrictions on state-funded pregnancy prevention and family-planning programs "seriously flawed public policy."
Ritter, a Catholic who describes himself as "pro-life," wants to lift an order by his predecessor, Republican Bill Owens, also a Catholic. The order restricted groups that perform abortions from getting state money for family planning and pregnancy prevention.
Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer declined Monday to respond
Read Archbishop Chaput's complete column challenging Gov. Ritter.
directly to Chaput's criticism but emphasized Ritter is opposed to funding abortions.
Only family-planning groups that show they can segregate state funds from money spent on abortions would be eligible, Dreyer said. An amendment to the state's constitution forbids the use of state dollars to subsidize abortion directly or indirectly.
"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."
Calling out Ritter is in keeping with Chaput's belief that Catholic politicians must adhere to church teachings in their public life in order to remain true to the faith. The Denver prelate has gained a national reputation for his willingness to speak out.
Chaput praised Ritter's desire to improve health care and education and said his State of the State address brimmed with "good will, good sense and hope."
Much of Chaput's ire focused on Planned Parenthood, which lost nearly $400,000 in state funding under the Owens administration. Chaput highlighted a passage in Ritter's State of the State talk in which he talked about judging legislation's impact on future generations.
"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," Chaput wrote. "Even more troubling is Planned Parenthood's long involvement in abortion 'rights' and the lethal services associated with them."
Chaput questioned whether it's possible to segregate money for abortion and family planning. He wrote that it's reasonable to believe Ritter's stated opposition to abortion and his "pro-life" label given Ritter's "engaged and active" Catholic faith.
"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.
But Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains may not seize the opportunity if the restrictions are lifted, given the high costs of restructuring to meet the state's demands and other factors, said spokeswoman Kate Horle.
She said Planned Parenthood also would be reluctant to take resources from smaller clinics statewide that currently receive state money for family planning.
"While I recognize it's Bishop Chaput's religious prerogative to want to believe Planned Parenthood somehow wants to increase the abortion rate in Colorado - which is what he implies - what we have always done is try to make sure every child is a wanted and a loved child," Horle said.
Jeanette DeMelo, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Chaput's chief objective in the column was to start a conversation and find common ground in the debate over family-planning funding.
Chaput did not challenge Ritter's abortion stance during the campaign.