All of Us Are Judged by What We Do
"When former Governor Bill Owens took the [state] helm in 1999, he brought with him an old-fashioned view that the state constitution should be observed. One provision in that document, approved by voters twice in the 1980s, bans state money to subsidize abortions. In line with this rule, the Owens administration warned Planned Parenthood that its contract for family-planning services might be in trouble unless it could prove the money didn't indirectly subsidize abortions.
"Alas for Planned Parenthood, two years later an independent audit found that family-planning funds did indirectly subsidize abortions. So ended Planned Parenthood's relationship with the state."
— Vincent Carroll, "On Point," The Rocky Mountain News, January 12
Governor Bill Ritter packed a great deal of good will, good sense and hope into his first "state of the state" message to Colorado legislators on January 11. This is consistent with the man. His desire to improve Colorado health care and education is admirable. So is his emphasis on judging all potential legislation by the same standard — specifically, in his words, "How does this [bill] create a better future for our children and our children's children?"
Now comes the hard part: governing. In the long run, all of us — homemakers, shopkeepers, clergy, athletes and public officials — are judged by what we do, not by what we say. How our words translate into action shapes what we accomplish and what we become.
In that light, Mr. Ritter's stated commitment to "restore eligibility requirements for state funding for pregnancy prevention and family planning programs" is seriously flawed public policy. 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. 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.
The day after Governor Ritter's speech, Denver's Channel 9 reported that he "would take steps to allow organizations such as Planned Parenthood to get state funding again if they can prove state money isn't used to fund abortions [emphasis added]." Mr. Ritter ran as a pro-life candidate and has always stated that he opposes abortion. As he begins his public service, it's reasonable to believe him. The new governor has been engaged and active in his Catholic faith for many years, and remains so.
Nonetheless, it's very hard to reconcile anyone who is "pro-life" with any support for Planned Parenthood and its destructive record.
In the opening weeks of his first term, Governor Ritter has a right to be taken at his word. He also has a responsibility to show Coloradans what he means. 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. As Vincent Carroll implied in his January 12 Rocky Mountain News column, that will be a difficult task, if not impossible.
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. 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."