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Women in Distress Not an Appropriate Target for Cardinal’s Protest

June 25, 1999

Says Catholic Leader 

Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, responded today to the news that Cardinal Francis George, leader of the archdiocese of Chicago, will lead 900 anti-abortion demonstrators in a protest Saturday, June 26, outside a Humbolt Park abortion clinic.

Washington, DC – Kissling said, “We are saddened by the news that Cardinal George has decided to bring the archdiocese of Chicago into this kind of direct action when his much respected predecessor Cardinal Bernardin chose a more sensitive and productive path while showing his opposition to abortion.

“Behavior such as protesting or praying outside women’s health centers by cardinals and other church leaders, no matter how non-violent it appears, offends and hurts women. These demonstrations are inevitably high profile events attracting considerable media attention and violate the privacy of women entering the clinics. There are better and more constructive ways for church leaders to express concern.

“Reducing unplanned pregnancy in the first instance, by supporting the use of contraception, should be the focus of church leaders’ action. Giving far more financial support to women than the church does would also do more to practically support women when faced with unplanned pregnancy.

“Cardinal George could personally do more to reduce the incidence of abortion if he were to stand up in the cathedral this Sunday and preach responsible parenthood and the use of contraception.

“We wish the Cardinal were investing his moral capital praying in front of prisons where death row inmates are to be executed, campaigning outside corporations where weapons are manufactured, or possibly holding a vigil outside the National Rifle Association to protest deaths caused through gun violence. These, we suggest, are far more appropriate targets for a cardinal who cares about life than a clinic where women are seeking to protect their lives and well being.”


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