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Catholics for Choice Statement on the Inauguration of President Barack Obama

January 19, 2009

Washington DC – Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued a statement today on the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

“After eight years of dismal reproductive health policy, which denied crucial health services to women worldwide, we expect the incoming Obama administration to close the book on this disappointing chapter and move towards repairing the damage done.

“In November, Catholics rejected the outspoken urgings of a few politically motivated Catholic bishops, with 54 percent of the Catholic vote going to Barack Obama. Underlying this majority is the reality that there is overwhelming support for reproductive rights among Catholics. A recent poll by the US bishops revealed that nine-in-ten Catholics support keeping abortion legal. A similar poll showed that the vast majority of sexually active Catholic women have used a method of family planning banned by the Vatican. With this in mind, we can expect that there will be widespread support for policies that seek to reduce the need for abortion, both at home and abroad.

“We should not forget the reality of what we have just experienced. The Bush administration has been a tragedy for women’s health in the US and abroad. The expansion of refusal clauses, the imposition of abstinence-only-until-marriage sexuality education, the denial of funding for NGOs working toward safe and legal abortion, the abuse of science and the refusal to accept scientifically sound protocols as well as the defunding of agencies seeking to provide voluntary family planning services around the world have all had a disastrous impact on women’s reproductive health.

“It will take time to rights these wrongs, but Catholics throughout the nation are looking forward to an administration that will be committed to the improvement of women’s lives by providing accessible and affordable health care to all Americans; restoring the United States’ leadership position on women’s rights, international family planning and global development issues; respecting the conscience of each American; and negotiating an end to the culture war over abortion.

“The inauguration of President Obama will begin a new era for women’s health. Catholics for Choice is committed to continuing our efforts to ensure that the reproductive rights of women worldwide are respected and protected.”