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July-11-01

July 14th Demonstrations To Call for Vatican's Accountability to Crimes Against Women

The Feminist Majority Foundation, along with over 100 national and international organizations, will participate in demonstrations at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See (Vatican Mission) on July 14, 2001 in New York City and the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C. The demonstration, led by Catholics for Choice, will first begin in New York at 12:30 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (East 47th Street and 1st Avenue) where hundreds of women are scheduled to participate in a march to the Permanent Mission of the Holy See. The day's events will conclude with a 9 p.m. candlelight vigil at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C. (339 Massachusetts Avenue).

The demonstration is one of many worldwide events planned as part of the Call to Accountability campaign to stop the abuse of nuns by Catholic priests and to hold the Vatican accountable for ensuring the protection of women's human rights within Catholic churches.

The campaign was formed in response to a series of groundbreaking reports published by the National Catholic Reporter, which reveal worldwide sexual abuse of nuns, including rape and transmission of diseases by priests of the Roman Catholic Church. Reports cite incidents in 23 countries, including the United States. Sexual abuse is particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where priests believe sexual intercourse with nuns is safer because nuns are presumed to be free of the HIV/AIDS virus.

Women's rights organizations are outraged that the Vatican has been silent on the widespread sexual abuse of nuns, which often results in pregnancy, forced abortions and expulsion from their communities. The Feminist Majority Foundation decries the Vatican's hypocrisy in denying women's access to reproductive health services, including abortion and contraceptive devices. The Holy See has been a leading voice of opposition to women's reproductive health rights at all the major United Nations world conferences concerning population control and women's rights.

For more information, see the Feminist Majority's Take Action: "End Sexual Violence Against Our Global Sisters" and visit Catholics for Choice:www.CatholicsforChoice.org

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