Catholics for Choice – What’s New

Conscience Magazine

The Future of AIDS

December 1 marks World AIDS Day, and the latest edition of Conscience reflects back and looks forward on the future of AIDS. This issue of Conscience magazine goes directly to the front lines to ask what an AIDS-free world might look like – and how we can confront the needs of the many still living with the disease.

In the News

Activists shifting abortion debate to focus on human rights

WASHINGTON — With the future of abortion rights on the verge of changing like no time since before Roe v. Wade, advocates are presenting new arguments to plead their cases.

Both sides have amped up messaging in an effort to intertwine human rights and abortion since the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and the precarious health and potential retirement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In addition, abortion proponents and opponents have strongly reacted to President Trump’s changes to Title X, a federal grant program that provides reproductive health care and birth control to low-income Americans. The new rule would block federal grant funding to family planning facilities, such as Planned Parenthood, which provide abortions.

This piece was originally published by USA Today.

In the News

Politico: Illinois Playbook

CHICAGO – Catholics for Choice opposes any city plan to subsidize Presence Health downtown headquarters given the hospital rejects abortion and contraception. In a letter to aldermen and obtained by POLITICO, Catholics for Choice says Catholic bishops are allowing women “to be treated as second-class citizens in facilities supported by public dollars.”

This piece was originally published by Politico.

On Abuse: An Open Letter to Cardinal Cupich

Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, has signed on to a letter to the Archbishop of Chicago, urging him to be a leader among his colleagues in Rome to truly address globally what is broken, restore the trust of Catholics and give comfort and justice to those who have survived abuse.

Read the full letter here.

Letters & Op-Eds

Cuomo followed his conscience on the Reproductive Health Act

The article “Bishop sees shift in youths,” Jan. 18, provides an important opportunity to remind readers that the bishops of New York do not speak for all the more than 7 million Catholics across the Empire State. Like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, those faithful, everyday Catholics understand the sacred duty of each individual to listen to their conscience and our duty to protect others’ right to do the same. The governor’s support of the Reproductive Health Act is an act for the common good, and he does so in good conscience.

Catholics for Choice lifts up the voices of the millions of faithful Catholics around the globe. We know Catholics do not want their representatives blindly following the church hierarchy’s opinion on public policy in place of their own. As a statesman who is also Catholic, Cuomo faithfully follows his conscience in upholding the rights of New York’s women to follow their consciences regarding pregnancy and abortion. He is, after all, the governor of all of New York, not a marionette of the bishops.

This article was originally published at the Albany Times-Union.

Letters & Op-Eds

We want our leaders to speak with moral clarity on abortion

When President Trump was elected, many women realized that something that seemed a far prospect could become reality — that Roe V. Wade could be overturned. In the face of this threat, we have also seen something inspiring. State legislators across the country — from Oregon to Illinois to New York — have passed a wave of progressive laws to protect access to abortion and safeguard a woman’s autonomy to make her own moral choices over deeply consequential, deeply complex decisions around when and whether to continue a pregnancy.

This piece was originally published by The Hill. 

Letters & Op-Eds

Our Leaders Can—and Must—Ask Tough Questions About Religious Freedom

Senators Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris recently came under fire for asking a pretty basic question of U.S. District Court nominee Brian Buescher during his nomination hearing: whether his membership in the vehemently anti-abortion, anti-LGBT organization the Knights of Columbus would cloud his judicial impartiality on these issues.

It should be perfectly normal for our members of Congress to question conservative political or judicial nominees about their independence on matters that can be deeply consequential to women, LGBT communities and other Americans. Yet we continue to see politicians attacked for raising important questions about the separation of church and state in our politics.

This piece was originally published at Ms. Magazine.

In the News

Called to Account: Inside the Feminist Fight to End Clergy Sex Abuse

Ms. was part of the early days of breaking the silence on clergy sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. In 1992, I reported on the abuse of Rita Milla, which began when she was a teenager in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and evolved over time to her being taken by a ring of priests to a hotel room that they rented by the hour. When I found one of those priests celebrating Mass in my own backyard at a Brooklyn parish and called the diocesan spokesperson to ask questions, I witnessed a real-time example of the church hierarchy’s modus operandi for dealing with abusive priests: He was swiftly transported to a parish in his homeland, the Philippines.

This piece was originally published by Ms. Magazine. 

In the News

Clergy Assert Support for Abortion in Letter

A group of 90 clergy and members of religious organizations signed off on a letter supporting women’s right to access abortion.

That letter was sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Catholics for Choice and the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. It appeared as a full-page advertisement in the Journal on Tuesday — the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.

This piece was originally published at the Albuquerque Journal. 

Letters & Op-Eds

We must continue to fight together for equitable abortion access

I’ve spent a decades-long career protecting access to reproductive health—and I know firsthand that although abortion is a fundamental right, access to abortion care is far from equal. I recall my early days when I was a hotline operator at the National Abortion Federation (NAF) when they deployed only two operators for the whole country. We received many calls from women who were not able to pull together the money to fund their abortions and it was heartbreaking. Very few places existed to help at that time.

This piece was originally published at the DC Abortion Fund. 

Letters & Op-Eds

Re: The War of Words on Abortion

Re “The War of Words on Abortion” (Op-Ed, Jan. 10):

Charles C. Camosy is wrong in throwing up a smokescreen to pretend that the abortion debate is a struggle over language.

Pro-choice victories in Ireland, Chile and likely soon in Argentina clearly demonstrate that increasingly, on a global scale, people in Catholic-majority countries are taking a stand for the values, morals and ethics of defending a woman’s right to choose.

Those who favor women’s rights are not running away from fundamental principles like conscience; they are embracing the reality that women’s rights are human rights. They understand the challenges to women’s health and well-being when we deny their right to make free choices over their bodies.

This letter was originally published in the New York Times. 

Press Releases

President Trump Scores Cheap Political Points at Women’s Expense

Washington, DC – In response to President Trump’s anticipated State of the Union address this evening, Catholics for Choice President Jon O’Brien released the following statement:

“President Trump’s attack on women’s basic rights as political payback to religious archconservatives is despicable. This is not a president who found religion—this is a president who has no qualms about putting women’s health at risk to score cheap political points with an ultraconservative base that he is desperate to hold on to. He and his allies seem hellbent on setting the clock back on women’s autonomy and freedom of conscience. They’re not only making abortion access tougher, but putting birth control out of reach for many working women. His efforts to chip away at a woman’s right to choose—and to attack those who advance progressive laws that help rather than hinder women—is pure politics. And when politics trumps people we all lose.”

Press Releases

Catholics for Choice Speaks Out Against Proposed Anti-Abortion Insurance Rules

“As written, the Proposed Rule undermines a woman’s fundamental ability to make the conscience-based decisions that are best for her. It scorns the important Catholic principle of social justice by putting at risk further vulnerable communities – like low-income women, rural communities, and communities of color – which Catholic teaching asks us to prioritize and support. It diminishes the fundamental freedom of religion by enshrining into public law one set of religious beliefs.”

Read the rest of our letter opposing this insurance change here.

In the News

‘Heartbeat’ bill passes Ohio House

About 90 individuals and organizations testified against the bill, including The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ohio State Medical Association, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Medical Professionals of Ohio, Catholics for Choice and several doctors.

The president of Catholics for Choice said abortion is a personal choice and not something in which legislatures need to insert themselves.

“As Catholics, in full accordance with the teachings of our faith, we shape and advance sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women’s well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women to make moral decisions about their lives.”

This piece was originally published by the Tribune Chronicle. 

Letters & Op-Eds

Our values are at stake with Kavanaugh’s nomination

Advocates in Washington, D.C. are no doubt watching every word from Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination proceedings to parse out what he says or doesn’t say about reproductive freedoms and other progressive causes. But ultimately we know that much of the posturing taking place during these proceedings is simply that — posturing and pageantry to appear as palatable and inoffensive a candidate as possible to get confirmed to the country’s highest court.

In the News

The ‘Anti-Catholic’ Playbook

Confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, began yesterday with a sustained uproar from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who protested Republican efforts to barrel through the process. From the opening moments, Democrats prevailed on committee chair Charles Grassley to postpone the hearings—or entertain their motion to adjourn—because so many of Kavanaugh’s records as associate White House counsel, and all of his records as staff secretary to President George W. Bush, have yet to be released.

This piece was initially published by The Nation. 

In the News

How Donnelly’s stand on abortion could define his career — and loom over re-election bid

WASHINGTON — With the hours ticking down to a final vote on a landmark health care overhaul in March of 2010, Joe Donnelly huddled with a small group of fellow anti-abortion Democrats in a nondescript, musty room on the top floor of the least-desirable House office building.

They sucked down paper cups of hot coffee while meeting in secret with White House attorneys into the early morning hours.

President Obama was on the verge of achieving an expansion of health insurance that had eluded the last Democratic president.

This article was originally published at The Indianapolis Star. 

In the News

What happens when pastors preach about condoms?

The tiny town of Laisamis, in northern Kenya, is already uncomfortably hot by midmorning. The highway running through it is lined with a few dozen shops, behind which are dome-shaped huts called manyattas. A few meters away, along a sandy path, is a corrugated iron structure surrounded by a wooden fence and barbed wire. It is the Repentance & Holiness Church, where Geofrey Kristo Lekopir is a pastor. It’s one of nearly a dozen houses of worship for a population of just a few thousand.

This article was originally published at Bright Magazine. 

In the News

Oregon Pro-Choice Advocates Mount Defense of State Funding for Abortion Care

Pro-choice activists mounted a counterattack the moment word spread: An Oregon ballot initiative to ban state funding for abortion care had gained enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.

Within 48 hours, more than 1,000 Oregonians had promised to vote no to Measure 106, organizers said.

This article was originally published by Rewire. 

In the News

91 Percent of Irish Catholics Disagree With Contraceptives Ban on 50th Anniversary

As the Roman Catholic Church marked the 50th anniversary of the major Humanae Vitae encyclical, which prohibited the use of condoms and contraceptives, a worldwide survey from a Catholic pro-choice group found that large majorities of Catholics disagree with the ban.

Catholics for Choice revealed last week statistics from a survey it carried out on people who identify as Catholic, asking them whether they agree or disagree with Pope Paul VI’s document that said using such birth control methods is morally wrong.

This piece was originally published by the Christian Post. 

In the News

Fifty years on, and Catholics are still in turmoil over contraception

Launching a report, Humanae Vitae and the Damage Done, Jon O’Brien of the US-based Catholics for Choice said: “Many Catholics choose to ignore the Vatican’s ban on birth control, but the world’s poorest people do not have that luxury. For half a century, the Catholic hierarchy has blocked funding and access to contraception for family planning and HIV/Aids prevention, with deadly impacts for the most vulnerable globally.”

This article was originally published in The Guardian.

Press Releases

Global poll and report shows poorest communties are hurt by Vatican ban on birth control

Washington, DC – Today Catholics for Choice launched a new report and global poll—in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Vatican’s ban on contraception on July 25—detailing half a century of hurt this policy has caused for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.

While Humanae Vitae, the Vatican’s ban on contraception, has shaped policy on birth control and HIV/AIDS prevention globally, many people are not aware of this policy, know its influence or the damage it has caused.

Read our full statement here.

2018 National Survey of Catholics in the United States

Belden Russonello Strategists commissioned a national survey of Catholics in the United States for Catholics for Choice in 2018. The polling data relates to the Vatican’s ban on birth control, Humanae Vitae, and it’s public perception.

View the polling data here.

Catholics for Choice