American Leaders of the Catholic Church are moving to increase their political activism by starting a new lobbying campaign against abortion and encouraging pro-choice candidates to change their stances on the issue. The campaign was approved by a vote taken during the semiannual meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops passing by a margin of 217 to 30.
The campaign requires priests to target Catholic politicians in particular, and urges bishops to set up private meetings with elected officials and political candidates and send them letters until they change their position on abortion. Bishops are also encouraged to go public with their criticism if they deem it necessary, and congregations will be asked to make a candidate's position on abortion their top priority when voting in the next election.
Jon O'Brien, a spokesperson for Catholics for a Free Choice, said the decision "is a slap in the face to the democratic principles that Americans expect their leaders to uphold."
According to O'Brien public opinion polls reveal that 39 percent of Catholics say a woman should be able to get an abortion if she decides she wants one, and 43 percent say abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, such as when a woman's health is at risk or when the pregnancy results from rape.
Media Resources: Washington Post - November 19, 1998
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .