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Why I Won’t Stay Silent Anymore

By upholding the federal abortion ban, the U.S. Supreme Court has injected rigid Catholic teaching into law. That's a crime against the Constitution and women.

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I Love Roe

Roe v Wade was a visionary decision made in a country that was not ready for it. We need straight talk about access to safe abortion, pregnancy related health care, and safe delivery.

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How Many Priests Does It Take to Release An Election Statement?

Frances Kissling is President of Catholics for a Free Choice.

Priests for Life claims to be "the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization." However, in 2000, the group claimed a mere 13% of the nation's priests as members. Today, it reports no membership income on its tax returns and has lost even more ground among priests.

After more than 15 years trying vainly to grow his Catholic antichoice group into the mass clerical movement envisioned in its rhetoric, its leader, Frank Pavone, now finds himself banished to a Texan wasteland and able to count on a mere 2.5 percent of the nation's priests (some 1,000) as supporters.

His hagiographic campaigning style, with unapologetic electoral campaigning, and unabashed cooperation with some of the most militant antichoice figures, has led him from New York to Amarillo, Texas, where he broke ground on a seminary for his new order of priests, Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. On the same day, the Religion News Service reported the new order had only one member, Pavone himself.

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Should Abortion Be Prevented?

Frances Kissling is President of Catholics for a Free Choice. This article appears in the Winter 2006-2007 issue of Conscience and also on Salon.com.

If abortion is a morally neutral act and does not endanger women's health, why bother to prevent the need for it? After all, the cost of a first-trimester abortion is comparable to the cost of a year's supply of birth control pills-and abortion has fewer complications and less medical risk for women than some of the most effective methods of contraception. This question has plagued advocates of choice since abortion was legalized. It has intensified in the face of antiabortion moralism about sex and responsibility, in the continued stigmatization of women who have abortions and in the increasingly expressed mantra that "there are simply too many abortions in the U.S." Frustration has led some advocates of legal abortion to dig in their heels and insist that any talk about preventing abortions denigrates women as moral decision-makers, misunderstands the reasons women have abortions, retreats from principled support for the right of women to choose abortion without government interference and tacitly lends credence to the contention that abortion is almost always morally wrong.

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Antichoice Groups Put on Notice as IRS Revokes the Tax-exempt Status of Operation Rescue West

Frances Kissling is is the president of Catholics for a Free Choice.

Earlier this month, on September 11 to be exact, the IRS announced that it had revoked the nonprofit 501(c)(3) status of Youth Ministries, Inc., which did business as the vehemently antichoice Operation Rescue West (ORW). While the IRS does not provide information on the circumstances that lead to revocations of any group's tax-exempt status, a complaint filed by my organization, Catholics for a Free Choice in 2004 provided information on ORW's electoral activities during the Boston Democratic Party convention that we considered to be violations of IRS regulations.

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The Vatican’s Condom Conundrum

Recent news that the Vatican might slightly relax its opposition to both condom education and provision as a way of preventing the transmission of HIV and AIDS has been greeted with optimism by the media as well as the international HIV and AIDS community. Of course, those of us old enough to remember the Vatican Commission on Birth Control—which was widely expected to change the church’s position on contraception in 1966—know not to get our hopes up. Then, the vast majority of commission members recommended that the Vatican approve of contraception for married couples and said there was no theological obstacle to a change. Four dissenting members went to the pope and cautioned that any change might erode the overall authority of the church and lead people to believe that other things could change. The pope followed the minority view and ruled in favor of authority over the health and needs of Catholic couples.

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