Colorado’s prolife movement is still buzzing over the upset it scored in last November’s election. In a statewide referendum, voters made Colorado the thirty-fifth state to ban public funding of abortions.

Christian Research Associates (CRA), an evangelical organization specializing in personal and social reformation, mobilized support among Christians for the constitutional amendment. Opposition was strong, with virtually all of Colorado’s political leaders actively working against the measure, called Amendment 3.

CRA executive director Tom Trento participated in five debates, including one with Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm and two with Lamm’s wife, Dottie. “This is an example that though the battle is difficult, we can win,” Trento said. “David can beat Goliath.”

Richard Lamm, who last year made headlines for his statements on the duty of the elderly to die, was among the amendment’s most ardent opponents. He and his wife, along with Denver Mayor Federico Peña, played active roles in Colorado Taxpayers for Choice, an organization formed to oppose the amendment.

Dottie Lamm argued in her regular column in the Denver Post that it “costs 15 times as much for a medicaid patient to deliver a full-term infant and raise it on public funds for 17 months … as it does for her to abort.”

Colorado’s Right to Life Committee chairman, William Woodley, challenged the Denver Post’s decision to allow Dottie Lamm, a cochairperson of Colorado Taxpayers for Choice, to use her column to publicize her opposition to Amendment 3. In a letter to the Post, Woodley pointed out that the newspaper had suspended Lamm’s column in 1978 and again in 1982 when her husband announced he was running for reelection.

Post editor Chuck Green noted that Dottie Lamm addressed Amendment 3 in her column only once, and that those who opposed her view had equal opportunity to respond. Green said Lamm “would not have been allowed to go on a crusade on this issue.”

Prolife leaders contended that news coverage in general was biased against the amendment. Trento said the media covered a news conference given by 16 ministers who opposed the amendment. However, a press conference given by more than 200 pastors who favored the amendment was virtually ignored. The 200 pastors held the news conference to announce their commitment to provide shelter and other forms of support for women who decide not to abort their babies.

Chuck Buxton, the Denver Post’s deputy metropolitan editor, said the proamendment press conference was held less than a week before election day, when other major political happenings competed for press attention. Joe Wheelan, of the Associated Press’s Denver bureau, said the proabortion press conference was more newsworthy. Since most ministers oppose abortion, he said, “it’s a better news story if you have someone saying, ‘I’m a minister, and I’m for abortion.’ ”

With public funding for abortion cut off in Colorado, CRA has produced a resource manual designed to establish lines of communication between churches and crisis pregnancy organizations. Church members will be called on to open their homes and pocketbooks to women who have nowhere to go. Pastors who favored Amendment 3 will soon have to prove they were serious about providing support for women who choose not to have abortions.

The battle over abortion in the Rocky Mountain State is expected to continue, however. Colorado Taxpayers for Choice continues to operate, with its leaders hinting that they may challenge the amendment in court.


Theodore A. Hegre, 76, founder of Bethany Fellowship, Bethany Missionary Training Center, Bethany Missionary Church, and Bethany Fellowship Missions (a worldwide missions organization); October 27, in Singapore, of a heart attack.

John W. V. Smith, 69, former professor of church history at the Anderson College school of theology, official historian of the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), member of the National Council of Churches’ Commission on Faith and Order; November 19, in Liberal, Kansas, of a heart attack.

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