Note: HB23-1097 was postponed indefinitely in Health Health and Insurance committee on February 17, 2023. The following is the CCC’s testimony in support of the bill.
If enacted, HB 1097 will require a health-care provider to administer painkiller medication to an unborn child after 20-weeks gestation prior to aborting that child. The bill includes exceptions, such as health of the mother.
While the teaching of the Catholic Church will never support the evil of abortion, where it is not within our power to save lives through civil law, the Colorado Catholic Conference supports and encourages the passage of legislation that will mitigate human suffering.
This is consistent with the Catholic teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that an embryo or fetus “must be defended in its integrity and healed, like every other human being” (CCC, 2323), and as Pope John Paul II stated in Evangelium Vitae, “when it is not possible to overturn or abrogate a pro-abortion law… [the Church] can support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law.”
The pain inflicted on a preborn child in late-term abortion is a horrific harm, and providing painkiller for preborn children after 20 weeks gestation is the humane thing to do. This does not change Colorado law, the Reproductive Health Equity Act. It does not cause undue burden on the medical provider. And such pain medicine could be delivered just as easily into the uterus as the injections to induce an abortion are performed.
The vast majority of medical studies show that late-term abortions after 20 weeks gestation cause tremendous physical pain to human preborn children, and 69 percent of late-term abortion providers report that they do not induce fetal demise before beginning an abortion.1
For instance, saline-infused abortion is a method used for post-20 weeks gestation, where the fetus is chemically burned alive from the inside out. The outer layer of her skin is burned off, she ingests and breathes in the solution, burning her lungs and organs— and it takes her over an hour to die. The saline solution also induces contractions, so about a day later, the mother will give birth to her dead baby, although some babies have survived.
If the abortionist does not use saline abortion, they will more often use dilation and evacuation procedures. D & E abortions are carried out by dilating the uterine cervix using dilators or medications, then using instruments to grasp, crush, pull apart and remove the unborn child in pieces, causing fetal death in the process.
Late-term abortion is inhumane. The substantial published scientific literature on the topic shows that unborn babies can experience pain by 15 weeks gestational age. This is why it is now standard medical care to provide direct fetal anesthesia during fetal surgery beginning at 15 weeks gestation. This bill is asking for a pain killer at 20-weeks.
This should not be a partisan issue. HB 1097 does not repeal RHEA. It is scientifically supported, and does not cause undue medical burden. It is humane, and a moral position on abortion is, at the very least, to ensure babies at viability and near birth are not subject to the excruciating pain of abortion mercilessly. For the Catholics on the committee, this is a moral imperative.
On behalf of the Colorado bishops, the Colorado Catholic Conference respectfully asks the committee to vote “YES” on HB 1097.