Radio Transcript

 LIFE ISSUES NO. 1559

 1967 COLORADO LAW - Part II
 

 Thirty years ago the State of Colorado passed the first permissive abortion law in the U.S.  That broke the ice, and other states followed.

 The law did have built-in safeguards, and a great deal was made of this at the time.  A panel of three physicians was needed to approve the abortion.  It had to be in an accredited hospital.  If it was requested for a woman's mental health, a psychiatrist's certification was necessary.  If it was for a rape or incest pregnancy, the District Attorney was required to certify that there was reasonable cause to believe that unlawful sexual behavior had occurred.  In practice, it actually limited abortion for, what we call, the hard cases.  It was not an abortion-on-demand bill.  But all of you will probably recognize what it really was, if I called it "the camel's nose under the tent".  For the reasons for abortion were progressively broadened and spread from that state and from there.

 In response to the law's passage, the first anti-abortion organization in the U.S. was formed in July of that same year - just about three months after the bill was signed into law.  The first chairman of that group was a Denver lawyer, John Archibold.  He did an excellent job of shepherding that tiny group into a going concern.  Another one of the founders who remained in the lead position for many years, and still is active, was Mary Rita Urbish.

 Not surprisingly, the following year a bill was introduced to reverse that abortion law.  The new legislation was written by John Archibold and by another Denver attorney, Charles Onofrio, but the bill died in committee.

 The original group had called itself the Colorado Joint Council on Medical and Social Legislation.  When it became clear that this was not a temporary concern but a longer-term battle, in March of 1970 these pioneers changed the name to The Colorado Right to Life Committee.

 About ten years ago a second right-to-life group was organized to concentrate largely on legislation and elections, and it took the name of Citizens for Responsible Government.  Between them, they've been holding up the pro-life flag in Colorado since that time.

 I could spend several more programs telling you what they've done.  For example, the initiative referendums that they've been involved in in that state, their newsletters which have been published continuously now since 1970.

 But today I simply want to acknowledge a group of very fine people who 30 years ago started something.  Such a birthday is not a cause for celebration in many ways, for obviously we haven't yet won the fight.  But it certainly is a cause for celebration for another reason -- because these folks have remained engaged and have continued with the fight.  For we all know that, in that day of final judgment, we will not be asked whether we succeeded, but rather whether we tried.
 

[06/26/97]