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Statement of Frances Kissling on “Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act”

February 15, 2007

Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, issued the following statement on the introduction of a bill by Rep. Tim Ryan (OH) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT), “Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act.”

“As Catholics committed to enabling women to exercise their right to conscience and to quality reproductive healthcare, we are pleased to support the newly introduced Ryan-DeLauro bill, ‘Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act.’

“Access to safe and legal abortion is a woman’s right. At the same time, women have been clear in their desire to avoid the need for abortion as well as to have their reproductive healthcare needs met throughout their lives. The ‘Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act’ is an important step forward in meeting women’s needs. It provides for substantially increased funding for family planning for low-income women which will help them avoid unintended pregnancy. It also provides funds for women who wish to continue their pregnancies.

“This two-pronged approach avoids an ideological stalemate and bridges the gap between sensible, well-motivated members of Congress who hold differing views on abortion. For those opposed to abortion rights, the recognition that contraception is vital in reducing the need for abortion is critical. For those who support the right to abortion, a stronger commitment to helping women continue pregnancies without sinking deeper into poverty is a core value of the prochoice community.

“As Catholics deeply committed to real choices for women and their families, we support all efforts that will improve the lives of women, especially those who are poor and marginalized. In the long run, substantially more resources than those in the bill will be required to meet women’s needs. But we must start here with the ‘Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act’ and another bill that has also been introduced, ‘Prevention First.’ Both these bills deserve the full support of every advocate for women’s well-being and for choice.”