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Catholics Call on Congress to Relax Restrictions on Contraception Provision Overseas

June 20, 2007

CFFC president Jon O’Brien today urged the House of Representatives to support the targeted exemption for contraceptives from the restrictive Mexico City Policy.

“Access to contraception should be something that everybody who has an interest in reducing the need for abortion can agree on. Studies from all over the world show that Catholics use contraceptives at the same rate as do other women and support free access to contraceptive methods. In the US, 97% of sexually active Catholics use a method of contraception that the bishops oppose, and two-thirds support the funding of international family planning programs. These types of figures are replicated internationally, especially among those who would benefit from the proposed change in policy. In Colombia and Mexico, 91% of Catholics support access to contraception. In Bolivia, 91% of Catholics think that public health services should provide free access to contraception, a policy that has the support of 96% of Catholics in Colombia and Mexico.

“Access to contraception not only helps women plan their families, it also saves lives, especially for those who need to avoid pregnancy for health reasons. Around the world, some 70,000 women die each year as a direct result of unsafe abortion, and 600,000 more are seriously injured. Providing these women with the means to avoid unplanned pregnancy will not only reduce the need for abortion, it will save lives. Members of Congress need to think about those women and their families, safe in the knowledge that their Catholic constituents will be supporting them as they vote to amend this dangerous policy.

“CFFC supports the excellent efforts in Congress to make prevention more of a real option, especially for poor women. It is important that Members of Congress know that statements against this initiative by the U.S. bishops may reflect the views of most of this country’s 275 bishops, but clearly do not reflect the views or practices of the country’s 64 million Catholics— who use contraception and support funding for international family planning.”

For more information, please contact Erin Smith, Press Officer of Catholics for a Free Choice, at +1 (202) 986-6093 or by email.