Catholics for Choice and its international partners work individually at the national level and collectively in the international arena to advance Catholic teachings and thinking that advocate women’s moral agency and that enhance the reproductive and sexual health and lives of women and their families throughout the world. Through research, analysis, publishing and networking, CFC contributes to international public discourse and education on women’s rights and reproductive health, population policy, gender equality and sexuality. With the increasing global trend toward fundamentalism, our international work has embraced such issues as the future of pluralism and democratic values.
CFC partner organizations:
Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (CDD) in Latin America
The CDD Latin America network was established in collaboration with Catholics for a Free Choice at the Fifth International Meeting on Women and Health held in 1987 in Costa Rica. Convinced that it was necessary to create local groups to address the regional emergency situations in Latin America regarding sexual and reproductive rights, in 1989 the CDD regional office for Latin America was established in Montevideo, Uruguay, led by Dr. Cristina Grela. Dr. Grela was moved to establish the CDD in Latin America because of the high rates of maternal mortality due to clandestine abortions and the abuse of these women suffering from complications from unsafe abortions in hospitals throughout the region.
Today, CDD in Latin America is comprised of sister organizations located in six Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. These groups are working to assist Catholic women in making personal moral decisions about reproductive health and to change laws and practices so that abortion will be safe, legal and accessible. The groups work in the Latin American tradition of feminist liberation theology, with a major commitment to human rights and the alleviation of poverty. Groups work at both the country and regional level on a variety of projects including:
- Mobilizing Catholics in the trade union movement, indigenous groups, young people and other advocates in the medical community and legal work to push for implementation of existing abortion laws and decriminalization of abortion;
- Educating policy makers in support of family planning, access to contraception and safe and legal abortion;
- Providing communications and advocacy trainings for activists, health professionals and policy makers; and
- Building a Catholic youth movement in support of reproductive rights.
CDD Argentina began in 1993, and today enjoys recognition within the local and national women’s movement, maintaining a presence in the media, especially in moments of debate on matters of sexual and reproductive health in the province or other parts of Argentina. They have played a key role in the 1999 discussion about a provincial Sexual and Reproductive Health Law; the development in 2001 of a local HIV/AIDS prevention program that takes into account gender and youth perspectives, poverty, and sexual diversity; training in 2002-03 of social movement leaders to incorporate questions of sexuality and reproduction into their movements; and in 2003 execute the “I’m Catholic and I support contraception” campaign to create public awareness and gain support from other social sectors.
Avenida Colon 442 6 “D”
Tel/Fax: (+54 351) 4229104
Established in 1996, CDD/Bolivia works domestically and internationally to advance reproductive health and rights. CDD/Bolivia focuses on policy advocacy, through a variety of coalitions, and with a number of constituencies. In 1999, CDD worked closely with the September 28 Coalition to draft a reglamento that would enforce Article 266 and inform policy makers about the reglamento.
CDD/Bolivia organizes workshops, leads seminars, and participates on panels to educate and inform lawyers, policy makers, journalists, health professionals, collegial NGOs, and young people about Article 266, prochoice Catholicism, women’s human rights, and “how to talk about abortion.” CDD/Bolivia publishes a biannual bulletin, Fe-mujer, that puts forward the values and principles of Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir.
Av. Hugo Ernst N° 6386 (Bajo Següencoma)
La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: (+591 2) 275 1534
In a country where most of the population lives in overwhelming poverty and faces extremely high levels of maternal mortality, unsafe illegal abortions, HIV/AIDS, and teen pregnancy, Católicas pelo Direito de Decidir in Brazil offers a theological and moral perspective that affirms women’s and men’s ability to make responsible and moral decisions about their reproductive lives. CDD/Brazil has worked through policy analysis, media, education, and outreach to raise awareness that there is more than one Catholic position on reproductive health issues, and that contraception and abortion can be moral choices.
CDD was organized in Brazil in 1993. The organization works with legislators on Brazil’s abortion law, organizes and offers workshops on feminist theology, and produces publications on Catholicism and reproductive health issues such as maternity, abortion, and contraception.
Rua Sebastião Soares de Faria, 57
01317-010 São Paulo SP
Tel/Fax: (+55 11) 3541 3476
CDD Chile began its work in 1995 in Valparaíso with women from Catholic base communities, and works also with women’s networks and organizations in both Valparaíso and Santiago on diverse campaigns including the September 28th Campaign for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. CDD Chile is dedicated to the promotion and empowerment of women in sexual and reproductive rights through workshops and other events. It advocates social justice and the change in society’s dominant cultural and religious norms, and fights for equality in gender relations both in society and the churches. Since 2002, CDD Chile has been working with and providing a public voice for the regional Secretariat for HIV/AIDS prevention program.
Santos Torneros 509
Playa Ancha, Valparaíso, Chile.
Tel: (+56) 32 492126
Fax: (+56) 32 497694
CDD Colombia was officially formed in 2000, though its history of activities dates back to 1996. CDD Colombia is composed of Catholic women invested in the social movement and working toward the defense and promotion of human rights, especially those related to sexual and reproductive rights. Their work is based on principles of liberty, life, and dignity, where the right to choose is a fundamental pillar of their work. The other basis of their work is action – research and participation by CDD Colombia in the politics and ideology of the church and the state, with the goal of achieving advances in public policies dealing with women’s rights. They participate in campaigns that advocate on behalf of women in Colombia as a way to educate communities and speak out in the media on issues involving discrimination and legal setbacks that deny Colombian women justice and dignity.
Apartado Aéreo 86972
Tel: (+57 1) 327 2465
Fax: (+57 1) 327 2466
CDD-El Salvador joined the network in 2007, but this group of activists has been working together in other feminist groups since 2004. Before then, between 2000 and 2003, the Latin American Network of CDDs (under Argentinean coordination) had sought contacts in El Salvador and other countries in Central America with the intention of setting up a new group. CCD El Salvador has attracted support, inspiration and sponsorship from the founders and theologians at the Catholic NGO, Bartolomé de las Casas, as well as some progressive Dominican priests.
CDD El Salvador’s objectives include the expansion of expertise to include gender studies and public health issues so as to involve the medical sector in their work. The group also seeks to strengthen its contacts in the national university’s medical school in order to reach out to OBGYNs and inform doctors about the critical need to curtail maternal mortality. Women die every day due to unsafe, clandestine abortions in El Salvador, which is one of a few countries in the world where abortion is illegal under all circumstances.
CDD-El Salvador received the first Rosemary Radford Ruether Award for Prochoice Catholicism in June 2011.
CDD EL SALVADOR
Urbanización Sn. Ernesto, Pasaje Sn. Carlos, casa No 128
Boulevard de los Heroes, San Salvador
Telefono: (503) 2207-3077
Since 1994, Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir in Mexico-an organization committed to women’s empowerment and rights-has engaged in educational efforts that offer the progressive church community, policy-makers, legislators, health providers, educators, opinion leaders, women’s rights advocates and the general public, liberating Catholic positions on sexuality and reproductive health, gender and the rights of Catholics to make decisions based on their conscience. In a predominantly Catholic country such as Mexico, CDD’s contributions to public debates are particularly important since they reflect the diversity of perspectives that exist within Catholicism, especially on the topics of reproductive rights, sexuality, and women’s roles.
As an independent Catholic non-governmental organization (NGO) skilled in public education and advocacy, Católicas helps to bring these perspectives to public debates on democracy, gender equity, health and reproductive rights, drawing on its principles of individual conscience, Catholic social justice, women’s rights and democratic pluralism.
Apartado Postal 21-264
Coyoacán (04021), México DF
Tel: (+52 55) 5554 5748
Fax: (+52 55) 5659 2843
CDD-Nicaragua began to develop into a fully fledged member of the network four years ago. Individuals gathered to start the traditional process, investigating and strengthening their own feminist ideals and principles within the context of Catholic teachings. This process allows future organizers to speak from a position of strength and knowledge of core Catholic principles, without which it is difficult to gain recognition and respect. Using these principles, they began to promote respect for public and social policies that meet women’s rights and reproductive health needs. For over a year, CDD-Nicaragua worked under the umbrella of CDD-Mexico, whose own members helped develop the group as an NGO. In November 2007, CDD-Nicaragua was officially welcomed as a member of the Latin American Network of CDDs.
However, before then members played a crucial role in the Strategic Group on the Decriminalization of Abortion in Nicaragua that lead the campaign to contest the ban on therapeutic abortion passed by Congress in October 2006.
CDD-Nicaragua’s main areas of work include decriminalizing abortion; promoting sexual diversity and gender equity; and calling on the Catholic hierarchy to respect the principles of the Nicaraguan lay state. The group organizes rallies and demonstrations, lobbies legislators and pursues a sophisticated communications program to further its goals, as well as providing internal instruction and education for the benefit of its members.
Tel: (+505) 277-2012/8
Meeting as a group for the past two years, CDD-Paraguay was created via the CDDs’ network initiative, which organizes regional seminars to strengthen membership knowledge on certain topics. One of those seminars, on sexuality and religion, concentrated on the Southern Cone region and took place in September 2007 in Asunción, the Paraguayan capital. CDD-Paraguay was officially launched during that meeting in front of several civil society NGOs and a considerable media presence.
The group has been working intensively in the September 28 campaign and has become well known throughout the country, with considerable media attention as well as public events, presentations, debates and interviews. Their support for and by local women’s groups has given them credibility with the national feminist coalition, Coordinación de Mujeres del Paraguay.
Immediate goals include retaining and enhancing their position within various human rights groups as well as promoting the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda throughout the country. Given that a new leftist government has promised constitutional reform in 2009, CDD Paraguay also wants to propose legislation that will convert Paraguay into a formally lay state as a means towards influencing public and social policies.
Tel: (595) 2150-7722/7532
Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir in Spain is a collective of Catholic theologians and activists who put forward a Catholic pro-choice voice in Spain. CDD/Spain collaborates with organizations that advance sexual health and reproductive rights, and with feminist groups to campaign for a broadening of the scope of Spain’s abortion law. CDD/Spain also works with We Are Church (Somos Iglesia), an international church reform movement, to advance women’s rights in the Catholic church.
Clara Del Rey 52 7°C Derecha
Catholics for Choice Canada
Catholics for Choice Canada is comprised of people who believe that the law of the Catholic church has given its members the right and the responsibility to follow their conscience on moral matters, even when it conflicts with church teaching. The use of artificial birth control and the decision to obtain an abortion can both be moral choices. Women can be trusted to make decisions that support the well-being of their children, families and society and that enhance their own integrity and health. And a Catholic who believes that abortion is immoral in all or most circumstances can still support its legality. According to CFFC-Canada, “We live in a pluralistic society, and as Catholics we do not want to attempt to impose our beliefs on other right-thinking people.”
Catholics for a Free Choice – Canada
PO Box 65179
Tel: (+705) 768 2514