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Statement by Jon O’Brien, President of Catholics for Choice, on Planned Parenthood’s Commitment to New Orleans

June 10, 2016

In advance of a protest planned at a new Planned Parenthood health center in New Orleans, Catholics for Choice president Jon O’Brien issued the following statement:

It is disturbing that in New Orleans, where some 39 percent of the city’s children live in poverty, anyone would spend time protesting against a health center designed to improve the health of their mothers and fathers. Planned Parenthood’s new state-of-the-art health center will offer residents STI testing and treatment, lifesaving cancer screening, men’s healthcare, birth control and HIV testing. Patients will eventually be able to rely on Planned Parenthood for legal, safe abortion. Each resident is free to use the services provided by Planned Parenthood or not according to her conscience and values. The more than 1.2 million Catholics in Louisiana, like Catholics worldwide, rely on their conscience when making reproductive health decisions.

On Saturday, when zealots are attempting to intimidate doctors and their patients, I want all the staff to know that I—and thousands of Catholics—have their backs. We applaud their efforts to improve the lives of the citizens of New Orleans by giving them autonomy over their own lives. To the brave patients who have to endure the protestors’ wrath: We are with you. From across the nation, we applaud your courage in taking care of your own health despite the ugly actions of others who think they know better than you. To the prochoice community in New Orleans who supported this health center in the face of harassment, threats and boycotts: We stand with you. And to Planned Parenthood, we say a sincere “thank you” for opening your doors to anyone who needs healthcare in Louisiana. God bless you!