The national debate over the future of Roe v. Wade spilled into Boulder on Wednesday morning in the form of graffiti.
For the second time in a year, parishioners at a Boulder Catholic church were horrified at the messages that greeted them for 7 a.m. Mass.
Vandals spray-painted abortion-rights messages across Sacred Heart of Mary's front doors, windows and religious statues. This time, the vandalism was related to a heated nationwide abortion discussion.
"My body my choice," "Keep your religion off our bodies" and "Abortion Saves Lives" were painted in light blue along with the anarchist symbol across the outside of the church. In addition, bright red paint covered the hands and eyes of a bronze statue of Mary and Jesus.
Boulder County sheriff's deputies were sent to the church to investigate.
"It's unfortunate to see people acting out like this. We certainly understand the highly emotional nature of the pro-life, pro-abortion debate as the news from the Supreme Court leaked on the potential outcome," said Mark Haas, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Denver.
Church staff planned to power wash the paint while the building was still wet from the rain.
Haas said there have been at least 30 attacks on Colorado's Catholic churches in the last two years, but many of those were not as clearly anti-Catholic as this one.
In September, Sacred Heart of Mary was defiled. And in October, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver was vandalized.
A lone spray-painter, Madeline Cramer, was charged with one count of criminal mischief and one count of committing a bias-motivated crime in the Basilica vandalism. That damage was estimated at around $10,000. As of Wednesday, authorities had not charged anyone in connection with the September vandalism at Sacred Heart of Mary.
Haas and investigators said some of the messages discovered Wednesday were similar to the vandalism that occurred in September.
Authorities said they believe more than one person was involved in the most recent vandalism.
"The investigation is ongoing, but we can say that we are looking at all evidence, including surveillance footage," said Carrie Haverfield, a spokesperson for the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.
"This is very bad for the people who have to see this and we do talk internally that this is not new for the church," Haas said. "The church has been attacked for 2,000 years."