In the News - 2008

THE WASHINGTON POST Vatican Ethics Guide Stirs Controversy: Church Decries Stem Cell Research, Infertility Treatments

  The Vatican’s first authoritative statement on reproductive science in 21 years triggered intense debate yesterday about some of the most contentious issues in modern biological research, including stem cells, designer babies, cloning, and a host of techniques widely used to prevent pregnancy and to help infertile couples have children. The broad 32-page document, from […]

Rob Stein and Michelle Boorstein

THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE Vatican Issues Instruction on Bioethics

  The Vatican on Friday issued the most authoritative and sweeping document on bioethical issues in more than 20 years, taking into account recent developments in biomedical technology and reinforcing the Roman Catholic church’s opposition to in vitro fertilization, human cloning, genetic testing on embryos before implantation and embryonic stem cell research. The Vatican document […]

Laurie Goodstein and Elisabetta Povoledo

AMERICAN SCIENTIST Will a New Vatican Document Affect Science and Reproductive Health?

  The Vatican released a striking bioethics document today that condemns not only embryonic stem cell research, human-animal hybrids, and human cloning, but also the commonplace practice of in vitro fertilization that many couples depend on to have children. The document, titled “The Dignity of the Person,” was released by the Congregation for the Doctrine […]

Brendan Borrell

RH Reality Check New Radio Ads Say, Good Catholics Use Condoms

  On this World AIDS Day, Catholics for Choice and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health are thrilled to announce the launch of the first-ever Condoms4Life radio ads. The two Spanish-language ads take on myths about condom use in Catholic and Latino communities and aim to highlight the importance of condom use and that […]

Jon O'Brien and Silvia Henriquez

The Hill's Congress Blog The Catholic Vote and Priorities for the Next President

  Once again, Catholic voters showed that as goes the Catholic vote, so goes the election. Initial results show that 54% of the Catholic vote went to President-elect Barack Obama. As shown in our poll, “The Catholic Voter in Summer 2008,” Catholic voters, like all voters around the country, are most concerned with the bread-and-butter […]

Jon O'Brien

Opposing Views The Question is Not Whether Life is Present

  The argument about when life begins is a diversion from the real issue, which is an examination of when personhood begins. Life does not begin at any specific moment in time, it continues. Does anybody ask whether the sperm and the egg are alive? No, they don’t, because the issue is not whether life […]

Jon O'Brien

Opposing Views Catholics can support prochoice politicians in good conscience

  Catholics can rest assured that they are in good company, and in good conscience, in supporting prochoice policymakers. Church teachings on moral decision-making and abortion are complex and far more nuanced than the monolithic teachings as represented by the bishops. In Catholic theology there is room for the acceptance of policies that favor access […]

Jon O'Brien

STAR-LEDGER Catholic voters urged to weigh abortion issue

  In poll after poll, voters have consistently placed abortion far down on their list of priorities for choosing a president this fall, below issues such as the economy, the war in Iraq, terrorism, health care, energy and taxes.Still, recessionary worries notwithstanding, the nation’s Catholic bishops are encouraging their flocks to consider the abortion issue […]

Jeff Diamant

FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM In letter, area Catholic dioceses urge votes for pro-life candidates

  With less than a month before the presidential election, the Roman Catholic bishops of the Fort Worth and Dallas dioceses have issued a joint letter calling abortion “intrinsically evil” and saying it is “morally impermissible” for Catholics to vote for pro-abortion rights candidates over pro-life candidates. “As Catholics we are morally obligated to pray, […]

Patrick McGee

The Hill's Congress Blog Individual Conscience In Moral Decision Matters At Core of Catholic Tradition

  Earlier this week, in their response to vice presidential nominee Senator Joseph Biden’s recent comments about abortion, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops missed the mark on political discourse in the United States.On “Meet the Press” last weekend, Senator Biden stated that it is “inappropriate in a pluralistic society” to impose his religious […]

Jon O'Brien

THE BULLETIN (PHILADELPHIA) Bishops Chastise Biden’s Pro-Choice Comments

  Two Denver Catholic bishops responded Sept. 8 to Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden’s comments on conception made the day before on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” When asked when life begins, Sen. Biden, who identifies himself as Catholic, said, “it’s a personal and private issue.” This came as news however to Denver Archbishop […]

Erin Maguire

The Hill - Congress Blog Catholic Bishops Not on the Same Page as Pelosi, American Catholics

  In their responses to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and the US bishops commented on their interpretation of what Speaker Pelosi said, not what she actually said. Speaker Pelosi was correct in noting that Catholic teaching has changed over the years, even on the issue of when life […]

Jon O'Brien

Inter Press Service Women Take the Platform at Dem Convention

  WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (IPS) – From the party platform ratified by delegates between speeches Monday, to primetime, headlining speeches by two heavy hitters in the election — Sen. Hillary Clinton and first-lady hopeful Michelle Obama — the initial two days of the Democratic National Convention were dominated by women.After a bruising primary season against […]

Ali Gharib

BOSTON GLOBE (BLOG) Bishops criticize Pelosi over abortion

  In an unusual move, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops today issued a statement criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments about abortion. Pelosi is herself a Roman Catholic, the mother of five children, and a supporter of abortion rights. And her comments came just a day after Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama selected […]

Michael Paulson

The Hill Pelosi’s feud with archbishop escalates

  The public feud over abortion between the Speaker of the House and the archbishop of Washington intensified Tuesday as Rep. Nancy Pelosi responded to his recent criticism and the archbishop fired another salvo at the California Democrat.   The latest development came Tuesday evening, when Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl issued a statement to The […]

Bob Cusack

National Catholic Reporter Bishops dispute Speaker Pelosi comment on abortion

  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press Aug. 24, said “doctors of the church” had taught different ideas at various times about when life begins and that the matter had been “an issue of controversy” over centuries. She also said the absolute teaching that life begins at conception was […]

The Hill - Congress Blog To Win the ‘Catholic Vote’: Focus on Bread and Butter Issues

  Every election cycle, conservative Catholics such as Deal Hudson and Robert Novak seek to perpetuate the myth of the so-called monolithic “Catholic vote” claiming that this will be the election that Catholics swing heavily to one side. In reality, Catholic voters have been the classic swing vote in American presidential politics, changing from support […]

Jon O'Brien

Associated Press British lawmakers support existing time limit for abortions

  DATELINE: LONDON British lawmakers on Tuesday voted against lowering the upper time limit for abortions in the U.K. despite calls to change the regulation of pregnancy terminations for the first time in almost two decades… This article was originally published on 20 May 2008 by the Associated Press.

David Stringer

THE TABLET (UK) Rome snubs progressives’ call for revision of contraception ban

  THE VATICAN has dismissed as “paid propaganda” a call from more than 50 progressive Catholic organisations urging it to renounce its opposition to artificial birth control. A letter organised by the Washington-based activist group, Catholics for Choice, and published as a half-page advertisement in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, called the Church’s policy […]

Timothy Lavin

FREETHOUGHT RADIO RADIO: Guest: Jon O’Brien, President of Catholics for Choice

  This week Freethought Radio talks with Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics For Choice (not all Catholics are alike), about his broad investigative indictment of William Donohue’s obnoxious Catholic League, and with Ryan Valentine of the Texas Freedom Network about the troublesome plan to teach bible classes in Texas schools. Click here to listen to the […]

Associated Press Catholics to pope: Lift the birth control ban

  VATICAN CITY (AP) _ More than 50 dissident Catholic groups from around the world have written an open letter asking Pope Benedict XVI to lift the church’s ban on birth control. Taking a half-page ad in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the groups said Friday that the Church’s ban on artificial birth control […]

Reuters Catholic groups ask pope to end contraception ban

  More than 50 dissident Catholic groups have published an unusually frank open letter to Pope Benedict saying the Church’s ban on contraception had been “catastrophic” and urging him to lift it. The letter was published as a paid half-page advertisement in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s largest newspaper, on the 40th anniversary of the late […]

THE SCOTSMAN (SCOTLAND) 40 years on: Papal defiance of Sixties culture has grim legacy

  The 1968 ban on contraception put the Church in a straitjacket as HIV/ Aids began to kill, writes ANDREW COLLIER IT WAS one of the biggest shocks in modern religious history. The Roman Catholic church – not exactly known for taking risky decisions in haste – was, it was strongly rumoured, planning to end […]

The Tablet Abortion rate hits record high

  CATHOLIC PRO-LIFE campaigners say the Government is to blame for a rise to a record high in the abortion rate. According to new government figures, the number of women having abortions last year rose to 198,500 in 2007, an increase of 2.2 per cent on the previous year. But more alarmingly there was a […]

Thomas Norton

Orlando Sentinel Stem-cell research can promote life, dignity and discovery

  The Catholic hierarchy’s long and public battle with science and scientists continued this week in Orlando as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement condemning embryonic stem-cell research. However, while the bishops are clearly in a minority in opposing stem-cell research, they are also going against a long Catholic tradition of supporting […]

Jon O'Brien


  To listen to this program, click here. ELEANOR HALL: Australian aid agencies are torn along religious lines over the Federal Government’s proposal to lift a 12-year ban on foreign aid funding for abortion services in developing countries. Australia’s Christian aid groups are expressing concern about the move but other aid organisations say there’s enormous demand […]

Reporter: Emily Bourke

DAILY TELEGRAPH Ministers lead drive for lower abortion limit

  SEVERAL Cabinet ministers are expected join a parliamentary drive tonight to cut the legal time limit for abortions. MPs vote today on the abortion laws for the first time in nearly 20 years and are expected to lower the current limit of 24 weeks of pregnancy. A number of amendments to the Human Fertilisation […]

James Kirkup


  Elizabeth Arnold travels to the Vatican to explore the Holy See’s foreign policy machinery.  Joining Jon O’Brien, President of Catholics for Choice, were guests Mary Ann Glendon, US Ambassador to the Holy See; Francis Campbell, British Ambassador to the Holy See; Father Thomas Reese, Senior Research Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown […]

Reporter: Elizabeth Arnold

Inter Press Service Pope’s Visit Highlights Fault Lines in the Church

  NEW YORK, Apr 20 (IPS) – The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States this week may have inspired renewed devotion in many Catholic faithful, but progressive church organisations here say that it’s time for the Vatican to rethink its more rigid stances on issues like women priests, contraception and homosexuality. Addressing […]

Arlene Chang

BUFFALO NEWS Pope’s visit brings out other views

  NEW YORK — Inside security barricades along Fifth Avenue, a wall of admirers gathered around St. Patrick’s Cathedral Saturday morning, cheering and applauding Pope Benedict XVI on the third anniversary of his election. Three blocks from the cathedral, outside the barriers and out of view of the cameras tracking the pontiff, a small band […]

Jay Tokasz

Washington Times U.N. visit highlights the pope’s unique status

  DATELINE: NEW YORK Today’s U.N. visit by Pope Benedict XVI underscores the Vatican’s anomalous status in world affairs. He will be received with even more pomp and protocol than most heads of state, and his address in the U.N. General Assembly chambers is not part of a larger thematic debate. However, the pope is […]

Betsy Pisik

Forbes Praying For A Listening Pope

  Catholics, progressives and conservatives alike are celebrating the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Washington, D.C., and New York. We are all waving flags of welcome; we see the pope’s visit as a celebration, not just of the man who is leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics, but also a celebration of our […]

Jon O'Brien

Chicago Tribune Pope expected to appeal for peace at UN appearance

  DATELINE: NEW YORK NEW YORK Playing his dual roles as head of state and spiritual leader, Pope Benedict XVI on Friday becomes only the third pope to address the United Nations General Assembly, an institution where his church enjoys an unusual and sometimes controversial status. The pope is likely to call for peace and […]

Stevenson Swanson

Rzeczpospolita Tort dla Benedykta XVI

  To view this article in English, click here. Papiez wezwal Amerykanów, by opierali swe decyzje polityczne i spoleczne na zasadach moralnych. Benedykta XVI witaly wczoraj na ulicach Waszyngtonu wielotysieczne tlumy. – Przybywam jako przyjaciel i glosiciel Slowa Bozego, pelen szacunku dla tego wielkiego, pluralistycznego spoleczenstwa – mówil przed Bialym Domem papiez. – Ojcze Swiety, postanowiles […]

Piotr Gillert

Irish Times Pope begins US visit in attempt to galvanise Catholics

  US: POPE BENEDICT XVI has begun a six-day visit to the United States as the country’s 65 million Catholics struggle with doubts over church teaching while priests become ever scarcer and the cost of child sex scandals drives dioceses into bankruptcy. DENIS STAUNTON reports from Washington The official reason for the Pope’s first visit to the […]

Dennis Staunton

Voice of America Many US Catholics Out of Step with Church on Contraception, Abortion Video clip available

  To watch the video clip, click here. DATELINE: Washington Recent surveys of American Catholics indicate that many are out of step with the Vatican’s teachings on contraception and abortion. With Pope Benedict visiting the United States beginning April 15, some Catholics are asking the church to take another look at these issues. VOA’s Jeff Swicord […]

Jeff Swicord

Associated Press Papal Visit Provokes Array of Protests

  DATELINE: NEW YORK In a conference call Monday organized by Catholics for Choice, four Catholic theologians will be examining the impact of the 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” which defined the Vatican’s opposition to artificial birth control. “Catholics wonder why there’s this huge disparity between what the hierarchy says we should do in regard to […]

David Crary

RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH Pope’s many facets puzzle fans, critics: Known for enforcing doctrine, he’s also seen as very gentle, caring

  Apr. 13–52% view pope favorably, poll says When Pope Benedict XVI steps onto the field at Nationals Park on Thursday, chances are good he’ll hear a deafening roar of approval from the friendly crowd. The cheers should follow him throughout his six-day tour of Washington and New York starting this week. “These people are […]

Zachary Reid

National Catholic Reporter Unruly Americans vie for attention

  When Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Washington April 17 for his first visit to the United States he’ll be greeted by that unruly American church whose deviances he has decried. Groups are preparing to rally, pray and speak out about the church’s policies and teachings on accountability and lay leadership; contraception; war; pastoral care […]

Eileen Markay

Prochoice Catholicism 101

  We strive to be an expression of Catholicism as it is lived by ordinary people. We are part of the great majority of the faithful in the Catholic church who disagree with the dictates of the Vatican on matters related to sexuality, contraception and abortion. In all parts of the world, women, men and […]

Jon O'Brien and Sara Morello

Religion News Service Forty years later, contraception ban colors U.S.-Vatican ties

  Asked about her church’s ban on artificial birth control, Emily Kunkel inhales deeply and pauses. “It’s hard because the church has had this stance for so many years, there’s so much tradition behind it,” she says. “But I think in certain circumstances condoms should be used.” Kunkel, a 20-year-old sophomore at Ohio State University, […]

Daniel Burke

Wisconsin State Journal Whose rights have precedence?

  You know you are having an impact when Catholic bishops break from their very busy schedules and write to legislators to decry your efforts. Recently, I wrote to Wisconsin legislators to explain the true Catholic position on so-called conscience clauses as they considered whether to include one in a bill mandating the provision of […]

Jon O'Brien

PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS Abortion: It’s an issue of social justice

  PLANNED Parenthood affiliates have prevented more abortions than many so-called “pro-life” organizations ever will. I repeat: Planned Parenthood and other family-planning organizations are leaders in preventing abortions – no matter how many restrictions the anti-abortion movement constructs against legal abortion, no matter how many times they march on Washington as they did yesterday, the […]

Carol Towarnicky
Catholics for Choice