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Last year, the Vatican issued a statement directed at Catholic bishops and politicians discussing the responsibilities of Catholics in political life and informing politicians of their duty to vote against prochoice legislation. The US bishops followed the Vatican’s note with the publication of guidelines urging Catholic politicians to promote laws protecting human life from conception. By June of 2004, four bishops had even gone so far as to prohibit prochoice Catholic lawmakers in their dioceses from receiving communion.

While Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) believes that the Catholic church has a right to behave as does every other interest group—that is, to present their opinions to elected officials in an attempt to influence public policy—individuals, as Catholics, also have rights granted by the same church that now applies sanctions for the practice of those rights. And while prochoice Catholic policy makers have a responsibility to respect the rights of the church lobby, they also have a responsibility to their constituency to legislate based on the common good.

CFFC wants policy makers to understand their rights as Catholics. We seek to convey the reality versus the fiction of this issue by making the public aware that the bishops’ position on reproductive rights does not reflect the views of the majority of US Catholics. CFFC will continue to provide information throughout this election year and address charges levied against prochoice Catholic lawmakers.

Read the memo from Frances Kissling to prochoice Catholic policy makers »

If you are a policy maker and would like more information, please email us at


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