In the News - 2016

Chicago Sun-Times Doubek: Brace for return of culture wars to Illinois

Political debate in Illinois for the past few years primarily has been about debt, budgets and unions, but we could be returning to a time of culture wars with abortion, immigration and marriage equality back in the spotlight with the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Abortion coverage for poor women might be the first to […]

Madeleine Doubek

Religion Dispatches Special Hell: Progressive Catholics Reckon with the Rise of Trump

Beyond the general Trump-induced anxiety that is affecting so many, and beyond the sense of shame that a man who spouted such exclusionary, hateful rhetoric could be elected president of the United States, progressive Catholics are in their own sort of hell over the rise of Trump. His election raises questions about how Catholics should […]

Patricia Miller

The Guardian Pope Francis cements priests’ power to forgive abortion

Pope Francis has given all priests the power to forgive women who have had an abortion, saying the procedure was a “grave sin” but one that God’s mercy could wipe away for those with a repentant heart. The move, announced in a letter to markthe end of the Vatican’s holy year of mercy, was a powerful […]

Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Radio New Zealand ‘I think religion has been stuck in the pelvic zone’

Jon O’Brien talks with Kim Hill. Jon O’Brien, the president of American pro-choice organisation Catholics for Choice, says no religion, including his own, should have political influence in a secular society. He defines the Catholic Church as a body of believers, “rather than some building in Rome”, who he says should be compassionate and committed […]

Kim Hill

ABC Radio Sunday Nights with John Cleary

CFC president Jon O’Brien discusses religion and politics, the birth control commission and the founding of CFC with ABC Radio’s John Cleary. Listen here. This piece was originally published by ABC Radio.

Mamamia Meet the Catholic church leaders who believe women have a right to have an abortion

Think you know what the Catholic view on abortion is? Well, Jon O’Brien is here to set you straight. “This stereotypical view that being a Catholic means you’re anti-abortion is downright wrong around the world, and I think it’s downright wrong in Australia,” O’Brien says. O’Brien, who is currently visiting Australia, is president of Catholics For […]

Helen Vnuk

San Antonio Express-News Lawmakers Must Keep Religion out of Government

As Texas prepares for the upcoming legislative session, we need to remind ourselves that government, whether city, county, state or federal, is responsible for civil matters while religious institutions are responsible for spiritual ones. Regardless of how well intentioned a politician may be, forcing his or her religious “truths” on the rest of us is […]

Eric Lane

National Catholic Reporter Trump’s letter to Catholics

I just finished reading Trump’s “Letter to Catholic Leaders.” I choked. I realize that Trump is not a very religious man — putting it charitably — but this letter is one that fails to speak to any but a narrow slice of Catholics about the issues that concern us. Trump assumes that speaking with the […]

Maureen Fiedler

US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT Prognosis: Complicated

Debates over religious liberty are as old as the republic, but recent policies have reignited the public’s interest in them. Whether it’s President Barack Obama’s signature health care law or an expansion of LGBT rights, groups on the right have taken notice and are fighting back against policies they say are infringing on their right […]

Kimberly Leonard

The Orange County Register Commission on female deacons well-received by local Catholics

In a move that has energized those who have been advocating for women’s equality in the Catholic Church, the Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis has set up a panel to study whether women could serve as deacons, a role long reserved for men. The 12-member commission of six men and six women includes priests, […]

Deepa Bharath

Broadly Cool Pope Says Women May Be Able to Become Deacons Now

The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has convened a special commission that will consider allowing women to become deacons in the Catholic church. Deacons can perform many of the duties of priests, including preaching, conducting baptisms and marriage, and managing parishes. The commission, composed of six male and six female theologians, will study early […]

Leah Carroll

ThinkProgress A Bishop In The Exam Room: When Faith Dictates Health Care Instead Of Science

Rita, a Michigan-based OB-GYN, learned that the hospital where she worked would be switching hands, she was dismayed. The secular community hospital, Crittenton, had plans to join with Ascension Health, a prominent Catholic nonprofit hospital chain. Rita, who asked that her real name be withheld to protect her identity, knew the transition would profoundly impact […]

CNN In Latin America, requests for abortions rise as Zika spreads

In Latin American countries, where abortion is highly restricted if not downright illegal, pregnant women are seeking abortions at significantly higher rates, a new study shows. This development comes in the aftermath of a November alert about the Zika virus issued by the Pan American Health Organization. The alert revealed the potential for the virus to cause […]

Jessica Ravitz

Religion Dispatches Do Women Have A Future In The Catholic Church? Social Justice Orgs Petition Bishops This Week

No denomination has suffered as acutely as the Roman Catholic Church from the changes remaking American Christianity, from a rise in unaffiliated individuals (particularly millennials) to an alarming decline in women’s church attendance. Now the decline in millennial women’s attendance and participation in the church has become so acute that progressive Catholic leaders are raising alarm […]

Patricia Miller

Truthout Supreme Court’s Non-Ruling Leaves Contraception Access for Religious Nonprofit Employees Uncertain

The US Supreme Court will not rule this session on whether an employer’s religious beliefs should allow it to withhold certain types of contraception from employees. With no decision being issued, the status quo (a mess of contradictory appeals court rulings) remains, pending another challenge. The justices issued an unsigned order for Zubik v. Burwell on Monday […]

Katie Klabusich

Vox Supreme Court punts on the latest Obamacare birth control challenge

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will essentially punt on Zubik v. Burwell, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, by sending the case back to lower courts. After oral arguments, the Court had asked both the religious nonprofit petitioners and the federal government to address “whether contraceptive coverage could be provided […]

Emily Crockett

Voice of America Court Looks for Compromise in Clash between Religious Freedom, Women’s Health

Sister Loraine stood outside the U.S. Supreme Court last March and rejected the Obama administration’s offer of compromise. The Mother Provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor joined several other religious nonprofits across the country to tell the world she refused to fill out a form that would release her from the obligation to […]

Katherine Gypson

National Catholic Reporter Supreme Court order sends contraception case back to lower courts in search of compromise

Withholding on a ruling of its own, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday returned the Zubik v. Burwell contraception case to the lower courts, indicating a compromise on the contentious issue could emerge outside intervention by the nation’s highest court. In a nine-page unsigned order read by Chief Justice John Roberts, a unanimous Supreme Court vacated the […]

Brian Roewe

NOW NOW Protest: Polish Catholic Bishops and Politicians Would Send Women, Doctors to Prison

The crisis for women in Poland continues as the powerful Polish Catholic hierarchy, in league with conservative politicians, is pressing for total ban on abortion with a new criminal statute for “prenatal murder” that would impose a three to five year sentence on women who have an abortion and for the doctors and anyone who […]

National Catholic Reporter While Court prepares contraception decision, Catholic women already decided

The Supreme Court is evaluating the case of Zubik v. Burwell whose outcome will determine whether women who work for religiously-affiliated institutions will have equal access to contraception, under provision through the Affordable Care Act. Through accommodations, the government believes it has given religious employers ample distance from providing contraception, but religious employers claim the accommodations don’t […]

Nicole Sotelo

Christian Today Pope Francis’ ‘The Joy of Love’ treatise on marriage and family draws mixed reaction

Pope Francis’ ”The Joy of Love”—a 256-page statement on marriage and the family released by the Vatican on Friday—drew mixed response from Catholics in the U.S. and elsewhere. The lengthy document tackles the new realities facing the faithful but upholds Church doctrines on some of the thorny issues of the century such as divorce and […]

Shianee Mamanglu-Regala

Slate.com Avoiding “cold bureaucratic morality”

Pope Francis has spent two years contemplating the Catholic approach to family life. He twice assembled bishops from around the world and told them to be frank with him. (They were, to the point of contention.) He posted an online survey to gather opinions from everyday Catholics. And on Friday, he released a nine-chapter, 256-page document summarizing his view […]

Ruth Graham

Religion News Service Applause, dismay, confusion over pope’s words

Pope Francis’ “The Joy of Love,” a massive document released Friday (April 8) that wraps unchanged doctrine on marriage, divorce, and LGBT life in gentle terms, is getting a mixed reaction from U.S. Catholics. It brought joy to conservative Christians who feared Francis would tamper with dogma, but less love from liberals who had hoped […]

Cathy Lynn Grossman

CBC News CBC World at Six

Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, domestic program director at Catholics for Choice, discusses Amoris Laetitia on CBC. Listen to the segment here. This piece was originally published by CBC.

Los Angeles Times Pope Francis eases the way for divorced Catholics, but reiterates opposition to gay unions

Defining his mission to create a more merciful church, Pope Francis published Friday a much-anticipated exhortation on love and marriage, easing the way for remarried, divorced Catholics to rejoin the faith but reiterating limits on same-sex unions and the ban on contraception and abortion. The 260-page document, the product of several years of debate within […]

Tom Kington , Tracy Wilkinson and Sarah Parvini

Jezebel “Religious freedom” bill pushers’ insane anti-condom campaign, 15 years later

Today Mississippi’s House of Representatives passed a law legalizing discrimination against the LGBT community. That puts the Magnolia State in such shameful company as North Carolina and West Virginia in codifying discrimination in the 21st century; Georgia recently backed off its own discriminatory law after pressure from, uh, the NFL. The premise of using legislated “religious freedom” […]

Timothy Burke

Telegram Čini se da je Trump svojim izjavama o pobačaju pokrenuo srednjovjekovni lov na vještice. Evo odakle je sve krenulo

Čini se da je Trump svojim izjavama o pobačaju pokrenuo srednjovjekovni lov na vještice. Evo odakle je sve krenulo Donald Trump, kontroverzni biznismen koji se natječe na predizborima Republikanske stranke koji bi trebali iznjedriti njihova kandidata za predsjednika SAD-a, ponovno je izazvao negodovanje javnosti, ovaj put svojim komentarom kako bi pobačaj trebalo zabraniti i kazniti […]

Dubravka Blaško

Er paven virkelig progressiv?

Før den hvide røg steg op af skorstenen på det Sixtinske kapel i maj 2013, og den katolske kirke præsenterede deres nye åndelige leder, var Pave Frans ærkebiskop i Buenos Aires, Argentina, indædt abortmodstander og passioneret opponent mod ægteskaber mellem personer af samme køn. Med hjælp fra den tidligere Fox News-reporter Greg Burke, og det […]

Peter Lykke Lind

Huffington Post Zika: An opportunity for the pro-choice movement in Nicaragua

In a country where direct and indirect violence is a part of everyday life for many women, the Zika virus is just another concern to add to the list. At the same time, however, it provides an unexpected but welcome opportunity for those campaigning for change. A walk down the street can in many ways […]

Katie Silver

Americans United A Sign Speaks: The Message Behind ‘The PILL KILLS’

I spent several hours yesterday morning hanging around outside the Supreme Court. It was a very lively scene. The justices were hearing oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, a case challenging aspects of the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Some religious non-profits, such as colleges and nursing homes, don’t want to tolerate the presence of birth […]

Rob Boston

Metro Weekly Twisted Jurisprudence: “Religious Freedom” threatens birth control, PrEP and more

What if a court’s decision on female birth control led to an HIV-positive individual being denied access to lifesaving drugs? Or a gay man being denied PrEP? Or a rape victim prevented from accessing emergency contraception or PEP? Far from hypothetical, these are just some of the potential outcomes of a case being argued before […]

John Riley

Erie News Now Erie Catholic Dioceses Takes Religious Freedom Argument To Supreme Court

A big case hit the Supreme Court Wednesday, and church groups from the Erie area, played a major part in the case. Erie News Now Washington Correspondent Kellie Meyer found out, there was action both in and out of the courtroom. The Diocese of Erie joined people from all over the country, to fight inside the Supreme Court […]

Emily Matson

ABC 7 SCOTUS hears arguments over Obamacare contraception mandate

A deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, which happened to be the sixth anniversary of the healthcare reform law. It was the fourth time in five years that the Supreme Court scrutinized the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Faith-based groups complain the law’s birth control mandate violates […]

Mike Carter-Conneen

WBKO ObamaCare Employer Contraceptive Mandate Heads to the Supreme Court

When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law six years ago Wednesday, the Obama Administration prepared for backlash about providing contraception from houses of worship. In the plan, they exempted any church, synagogue, or other house of worship from being required to provide contraceptive care to their employees. The administration also provided a plan […]

Alex Miller

Go Erie Erie’s Bishop Persico set for Supreme Court case today

Nearly four years ago, then-Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman declared that the federal government had launched “an attack” on religious freedom. Trautman’s successor, Bishop Lawrence Persico, has taken the legal fight as far as it can go: to the U.S. Supreme Court. Persico will be seated in the court’s gallery on Wednesday, when the […]

Ed Palattella

Philadelphia Gay News Supreme Court challenge to contraception care could impact LGBT community

History may repeat itself in the LGBT community as the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments this week in Zubik v. Burwell, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act over contraception care. “A number of state legislatures do take their cues from what happens at the federal level in the Supreme Court,” said Rea […]

Paige Cooperstein

Religion News Service Religious groups try to sway Supreme Court in birth control case

One of the most anticipated cases of this Supreme Court season revolves around nuns and birth control. Zubik v. Burwell, which comes before the justices Wednesday (March 23), addresses one of the most contentious parts of the Affordable Care Act: the requirement that employers offer certain types of birth control to their employees — the so-called […]

Lauren Markoe

Mother Jones 10 Things to Know About the Supreme Court Showdown Over Contraception and Religious Freedom

Three weeks after oral arguments in what could be the most important abortion rights case in a generation, the US Supreme Court is poised Wednesday to hear a second reproductive rights case with potentially huge stakes. The central question in Zubik v. Burwell is whether President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, improperly forces religious nonprofits—everything from […]

Sarah Smith and Nina Martin

Wall Street Journal Supreme Court to Consider Compromise to Health-Law’s Contraception Rules

A four-year-old fight between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration reaches the Supreme Court on Wednesday, in a bishop’s challenge to the health-care law’s contraception requirements that could alter the boundaries of religious freedom. Eight justices will weigh how far the government has to go to accommodate religiously affiliated employers that object to including contraception in […]

Louise Radnofsky

Daily Tribune ‘Francis fine with the pill’

The Pope recently electrified the world with quite a mouthful, stunning even Vatican reporters, saying artificial contraception is actually acceptable — as this is a totally better alternative to abortion — to address the devastating effects of disease known as “Zika” which still has no known cure. Vatican officials, however, moved quickly to obfuscate the […]

Louie Logarta

Hamilton and Griffin on Rights Eleventh Circuit Upholds Contraceptive Mandate

Last week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against a religious freedom challenge brought by a Catholic media network (Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)) and several Atlanta-based Catholic archdioceses, bishops, and social service agencies. The Catholic entities unsuccessfully argued that the government’s accommodation of their religious objection […]

Leslie C. Griffin

BBC World News Is Pope Francis’ Contraception Hint Just a Puff of Smoke?

Time was when popes of the Catholic Church spoke confidently and, some believed, “infallibly” to their flock only from Rome, the centre of their worldwide religious domain. Then came papal jet travel, and the possibility of holding informal news conferences with journalists in an Airbus at 36,000 feet, as the Pope flies away and back […]

David Willey

Agence France Presse Vatican says chill, Pope not backing pill

The Vatican on Friday moved swiftly to dampen claims Pope Francis had signalled a significant relaxation of the Catholic Church’s ban on contraception in response to an outbreak of the Zika virus in Latin America. In an unusually extended explanation of Francis’s comment that contraception was “not an absolute evil”, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said […]

Angus MacKinnon

Irish Examiner Vatican: No Abortions for Women Exposed to Zika

The Catholic church made clear its position of opposing abortion in all circumstances after a Catholic group appealed to Pope Francis to allow Church members to “follow their conscience” and use contraception or to let women have abortions to protect themselves against the virus. However, the Vatican said: “Not only is increased access to abortion […]

Agence France Presse Pope’s Contraception Comments: Evolution or Revolution?

Pope Francis’s hint that the Vatican could relax its ban on contraception in response to the Zika virus was hailed as a shift in Church thinking Friday – but not everyone was convinced it amounts to meaningful change. “Pope Francis signals openness to birth control for Zika,” read a headline on the Boston Globe’s Vatican-watching […]

Angus MacKinnon

New York Times W.H.O. Recommends Contraception in Countries With Zika Virus

The World Health Organization issued a strong call on Thursday for the use of contraception in countries with the Zika virus, and said that women who had unprotected sex and feared infection should have access to emergency contraception, a recommendation that may not sit well with the Roman Catholic Church. The virus has torn through Latin America and is now in […]

Sabrina Tavernise

Washington Post - Acts of Faith Pope Francis Suggests Contraception Could Be Permissible in ZIka Fight

Pope Francis told reporters Thursday that using artificial contraception may be morally acceptable in fighting the Zika virus, but called abortion another situation entirely, akin to “what the Mafia does.” Francis’s comment came on the plane ride back to Rome from Mexico. During the week-long trip, the pope had not addressed the virus, which has hit […]

Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Michelle Boorstein

National Secular Society Catholics for Choice Defend Secularism against Pope’s Misrepresentation

A liberal international Catholic group has criticised the Pope for misrepresenting secularism in a joint declaration he issued with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. Their joint declaration, following the first meeting between a Pope and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church for a thousand years, said that “very aggressive secularist ideology” sought […]

European Humanist Federation Holy Alliance against Freedom?

For the first time since the schism of the two religions in the 11th century, Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, met last Friday Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in an historic exercise of “religious unity”. Their joint declaration is another missed opportunity to re-connect with the reality of or world and of their […]

NPR Chart: Access To Contraception And Abortion In Zika-Affected Countries

Don’t get pregnant. That’s the advice given to women by the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and El Salvador in light of a possible link between the Zika virus, which is spreading in those countries, and a birth defect called microcephaly, which results in an abnormally small head and possible brain damage. Brazil has reported […]

Marc Silver

Financial Times Zika Virus: Catholic Group Urges Pope to Allow Contraception

On the eve of his visit to Latin America, Pope Francis has been urged to relax the Catholic church’s stance on contraception and abortion so women living in the epicentre of the Zika virus can protect themselves from the disease. Catholics for Choice, a liberal Catholic advocacy group based in Washington, placed an advertisement in the International New York […]

Jude Webber

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES Zika Virus: Pro-choice Catholic Group Urges Church to Stop Condemning Abortions as Virus Spreads

A Catholic pro-choice group has appealed to Pope Francis to stop condemning the use of contraception and abortions as the Zika virus continues to spread around the world. Jon O’Brien, head of the Catholics for Choice group, said that the escalating international health crisis “gives Pope Francis an unprecedented opportunity to put his words into action […]

Tess Green

Crux Catholic Leaders: No Abortion or Contraception for Zika Virus

In the teeth of pressure for the Catholic Church to relax its ban on contraception and abortion in response to the explosive growth of the Zika virus — and the possibility that it endangers fetal development — mot Church leaders in Latin America are holding the line. That pressure has accelerated in recent days ahead of Pope Francis’ […]

Inés San Martín

Huffington Post The Latest on Zika: Why the Pope Should Weigh in on Contraception

This week, while research groups formed coalitions to develop a Zika virus vaccine, scientists learned more about the disease after an autopsy report showed Zika virus in brain tissue of an aborted fetus. The fetus’s mother had contracted Zika virus in Brazil during her first trimester. The Zika virus, which is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, […]

Erin Schumaker and Anna Almendrala

Irish Times Pope Francis Set for Historic Meeting with Patriarch Kirill

This is one occasion when the word “historic” definitely applies. When Pope Francis meets Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Havana, Cuba, on Friday, it will be the first meeting ever between a pope and the spiritual leader of Russian Orthodoxy. This is a meeting that has been in the pipeline for almost 1,000 years ever since […]

Paddy Agnew

TIME Pope Francis Should Lift Abortion Bans to Fight Zika

Much has been made of Pope Francis and his emphasis on mercy and compassion in interpreting church teaching as a breath of fresh air for the Catholic church. The escalating international public health crisis over the Zika virus gives Pope Francis an unprecedented opportunity to put his words into action to help some of the world’s […]

Jon O'Brien

Reuters Catholic Group Urges Pope to Allow Contraception to Fight Zika

A Roman Catholic group appealed to Pope Francis on Wednesday to allow Church members to “follow their conscience” and use contraception or to let women have abortions to protect themselves against the Zika virus. The appeal came as the World Health Organization (WHO) advised women in areas with the virus to protect themselves, especially during […]

Philip Pullella

Spiked Zika: Why All Women Must Have Abortion Rights

Although not much is known about the Zika virus epidemic, and there are claims that the link between the mosquito-borne virus and fetal brain defects resulting from microcephaly is unproven, the fears faced by pregnant women in the regions affected are beyond dispute. This alone is cause enough to demand action to allow these women the choice […]

Ann Furedi
Catholics for Choice