Are political parties driven by values or votes? Indeed, if you have sound values, do you not enjoy popular support? This latest issue of Conscience examines the push and pull within the Democratic Party in the United States on whether a prochoice stance is an essential plank of the party or a political weight costing the party popular support. In the aftermath of the unprecedented election of 2016, some have found this the perfect opening to cast doubt on the party’s prochoice position. But how is it that, in 2017, women’s reproductive freedoms are still seen as negotiable?
CFC in the News
Podcast: Jon O’Brien with spiked: Why Catholics are Standing Up for Abortion Rights
Jon O’Brien speaks with Ella Whelan of spiked about why Catholics are standing up for abortion rights.
Commentary: Helping immigrants should not mean denying them care
The immigrant community is deeply committed to the values that this country works to uphold — values that brought many of us to this nation. The idea of the United States as a beacon for those fleeing persecution is deeply held by many communities, including many of those who come to the United States seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
Trump Administration Hands Win to Bishops at the Expense of Women’s Healthcare
Today the Trump Administration dealt a blow to women’s healthcare when they carved out sweeping exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control requirement. This decision allows any organization or corporation to deny birth control insurance coverage for religious objections or “moral reasons.” Despite public opinion being overwhelmingly in favor of contraceptive coverage, the Trump administration chose to hand a political win to Catholic bishops and religious ultraconservatives, once again throwing women under the bus.
Read Catholics for Choice’s full press release here.
Letters & Op-Eds
The Hill: Abortion access shouldn’t just be for the rich — every woman deserves the choice
Tough choices. Most of us have had to make tough choices at some point in our lives. That moment when you look at your paycheck and count down the next week, two weeks, three weeks of bills that are due, wondering how you might stretch each dollar to make it through the month.
Illinois Leads the Way for Women’s Abortion Access
“We commend Governor Rauner for trusting women and supporting equal access to abortion so that all women can be empowered to make their own moral decisions about their bodies in good conscience. We applaud him for listening to the majority of Catholics who support equal access to abortion and for not bending a knee to ultraconservative bishops who try to dictate public policy for everyone else.”
Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Reader Abortion in Good Faith ads
As a continuation of Catholics for Choice’s Abortion in Good Faith campaign the following ads ran in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader. These ads coincide with Catholics for Choice’s effort to get Governor Rauner to sign HB 40 into law, which would revoke the ban on coverage for abortion under state Medicaid and the state employee insurance program. More broadly, the Abortion in Good Faith campaign aims to reinforce that Catholics believe in equal access to abortion, regardless of how much money one has.
Catholics for Choice launches Second Phase of Abortion in Good Faith ad campaign
This week, Catholics for Choice released the second phase of its multi-year campaign Abortion in Good Faith that lifts up the voices of everyday Catholics nationwide who believe that all women deserve the right to equitable reproductive healthcare, including abortion access —no matter how much money they have, where they live or what they believe. Ads appeared in the Washington Post’s The Express, as well as in several papers across Illinois, including The Chicago Sun Times, The Chicago Reader, The Marion Republican, The Carbondale Times, Benton News,Du Quoin Call, Eldorado Journal and Harrisburg Register.
Washington Post Express – Abortion in Good Faith ads
25 September 2017 – This week, Catholics for Choice released the second phase of its multi-year campaign Abortion in Good Faith that lifts up the voices of everyday Catholics nationwide who believe that all women deserve the right to equitable reproductive healthcare, including abortion access —no matter how much money they have, where they live or what they believe. Today, an ad appeared in the Washington Post’s The Express and our Catholics in Public Life members Elizabeth Hernandez and Kathy Ryg published an editorial in the Chicago Sun Times in support of House Bill 40 in Illinois, which would expand access to abortion in the state.
Separate and Unequal
Woman as mother, helper, caretaker. Is this the divine nature of all women? And their only vocation in their church, their families, their communities? Are women meant to be “separate but equal” (or rather unequal)—caretakers of a church that denies them a place within its leadership? At a time when women’s rights are at an inflection point globally, this newest issue of Conscience explores the Catholic theology of complementarity, the idea that women “complement” men as nature’s nurturers, and the conscribed vision of women as biologically distinct and suited to serve, but never to lead.
What Secularism Means to Africa: What it has been, what it hasn’t been and what it could mean for human rights
2017, 44 pp
For What Secularism Means to Africa, Catholics for Choice brought together a diverse group of scholars, professionals and activists from across Africa to engage the idea of secularism: to define it, to identify its history and to discuss its relevance to good governance and human rights across Africa.
Our report of the forum features four conference papers from colleagues addressing:
What is the relationship between secularism and colonialism in Africa?
What does secularism mean for African women’s rights?
What is the relationship between healthcare and religion in Africa?
What role might secularism play in the future for African governments?
Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Ploumen visits Catholics for Choice to discuss #SheDecides
Catholics for Choice President Jon O’Brien met with Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, women’s rights advocate, and fellow Catholic Lilianne Ploumen today at the Catholics for Choice office. During the meeting, opportunities for further cooperation regarding access to safe abortion, contraceptives, and other women’s health priorities were discussed, as well as Minister Ploumen’s initiative “She Decides.” The Minister also convened with the Catholics for Choice staff, who thanked her for standing with the majority of Catholics who are prochoice and for her commitment to promoting women’s moral agency.
“She Decides” is an initiative Minister Ploumen helped launch in January 2017 in response to President Trump’s reinstatement and expansion of the “global gag rule,” which denies US foreign assistance to organizations in developing countries if they discuss abortion. To date, it has raised over €182 million euros toward providing contraceptives and safe abortion access in countries affected by the gag rule.
For more information, read our statement about the “She Decides” initiative.
Can faith and freedom co-exist? When faith-based health providers and women’s needs clash
2017, 14 pp.
Faith-based health providers are a major component of health services delivery in many developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. They receive millions of dollars annually from unilateral and bilateral aid agencies to deliver care. At the same time, they often use conservative interpretations of religious teachings to deny access to essential health care, including reproductive health care and HIV/AIDS prevention services. How can we balance the presence of faith-based providers against the rights and needs of women and other vulnerable populations to receive the care they need?
Over a dozen progressive Catholic organizations express disappointment over Bishop Paprocki’s decree
27 June 2017 – Over a dozen progressive Catholic organizations representing diversity within the Church signed a joint letter to Bishop Thomas Paprocki expressing disappointment over a decree he issued denying communion and funeral rites for same sex spouses. The groups—representing a broad coalition of feminist, LGBTQI and prochoice Catholic voices– called upon the bishop to unite fellow Catholics during a time of divisive rhetoric and polarization in our country.
More than one in six hospital beds is Catholic-owned or –affiliated, and millions of people rely on Catholic healthcare each day in the U.S. Whether they are seeking routine or life-saving medical care, are their options more limited than would be offered at a secular facility? The newly released report, Is Your Health Care Compromised? from Catholics for Choice, answers that question.
ABC Radio – Sunday Nights with John Cleary
12 November 2016 – Catholics for Choice President Jon O’Brien recently toured New Zealand and Australia explaining the position of prochoice Catholicism as the keynote speaker at the Sexual and Reproductive Health conference in New Zealand, and the Family Planning conference in Australia.