Interfaith Alliance call

The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado led a press call Thursday with local faith leaders. Top row from the left are the Rev. Wayne Laws, Mountain View United Church; Muslim activist Iman Jodeh and the Rev. Amanda Henderson, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. On the second row from left are Senior Rabbi Joseph Black of Temple Emanuel; Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, president og Catholics For Choice; and the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Leath of Campbell Chapel AME Church.

The left-leaning Interfaith Alliance of Colorado on Thursday brought on faith leaders who are opposed to Proposition 115, the ballot measure to ban late-term abortions, to speak on a webinar with reporters.

Though faith leaders across different traditions disagree, often individually, on abortions, the group featured Thursday said their sticking point was the absolutes outlined in the ballot measure. There are no exceptions, beyond 22 weeks, or five and a half months into a nine-month pregnancy, including the health of the mother or whether the fetus is the product of rape or incest, or if a fatal condition discovered in the unborn child.

"At the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado we have long worked to as reproductive rights, health and justice are protected rights and to make sure no one's religious views are pushed onto others through our shared laws," said the Rev. Amanda Henderson, executive director of the alliance, which has opposed previous personhood ballot questions to outlaw abortion, as well as opposing legislation at the Capitol.

The Interfaith Alliance released a letter in opposition to Proposition 115 on Wednesday that was endorsed by 125 faith leaders. Henderson said Thursday that the list had grown to more than 130.

Iman Jodeh, a Denver Muslim woman and political activist who is running for the state House this November, spoke about how her religion supports a woman's rights.

"Islam already protects every woman's reproductive rights in every single way that Proposition 115 does not," she said on the call. "Islam believes that one of the most important factors in this difficult decision is the lifelong impact of the mother's mind, body and overall health.

"Islam does believe that the viability of the pregnancy and the health of the fetus should absolutely be considered. Islam, as a way of life, believes there are no absolutes."

She said doctors, no politicians or laws, have the expertise to make a decision about the health and safety of a pregnant woman.

"Ultimately no woman should have to worry about politics when making an important and already difficult decision," Jodeh said.

Senior Rabbi Joseph Black of Temple Emanuel in Denver spoke about how he and his wife were forced to end the pregnancy of their second child, because of a fatal medical condition.

"Proposition 115, if passed, would be devastating to any couple in our situation," he said. "While the facts to keep abortion safe and legal are quite clear, the language and obfuscation in this ballot initiative are anything but."

Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, acting president of Catholics For Choice, an abortion rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., also joined the Colorado faith leaders Thursday.

While the Catholic Church is one of the leading opponents of abortion, "our Catholic faith teaches us that each woman is a person with rights, responsibilities and a conscience based on her own evaluation of her own circumstances, based on her beliefs," she said.

"Only she can make the best decision for herself and her situation, not politicians, not bishops. As Catholics we are called to follow our conscience on moral decision making."  

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