An advocacy group claiming to be Catholics in favor of abortion took out a full page ad in the Star Tribune.
Catholics for Choice’s advertisement primarily consists of a picture of a woman alongside her pro-choice pledge. It is part of the group’s new multi-year campaign called In Good Faith.
“I believe in my Catholic faith and I have in others to make the right choices for themselves,” reads the statement, ostensibly from Heather Hirsch, of Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
The rest of the advertisement’s text reads, “Public funding for abortion is Catholic social justice value. Take the pledge.”
“As far as I know, Catholics for Choice has no on the ground presence here in Minnesota. They’re a national organization based in DC, no infrastructure here locally,” said the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s Communications Director Jonathan Liedl.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference put out a statement shortly after the ad ran in the Star Tribune condemning the ad’s content.
Catholics for Choice was founded in 1973 and has stirred up quite a bit of controversy since then. The organization believes that, “Catholic tradition supports a woman’s moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health.”
Most of the controversy that this group has stirred up comes from the actual Catholic church, which has strongly condemned the group. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a strong condemnation of the group in 2000, calling it an “arm of the abortion lobby” and “reminiscent of other episodes of anti-Catholic bigotry.”
“Because of its opposition to the human rights of some of the most defenseless members of the human race, and because its purposes and activities deliberately contradict essential teachings of the Catholic faith,” reads the statement.
Liedl listed several other programs that the Catholic church is involved in that are more consistent with Catholic teachings. Operation Baby Bottle is a major fundraiser for mothers and babies, and Rachel’s Vineyard to help care for women experiencing post-abortion trauma.
“A core principle of social justice in the Catholic tradition is caring for the weak and the vulnerable, and the unborn are the weakest and most vulnerable amongst us,” Liedl said, “Any social justice that doesn’t prioritize protecting them is not authentic social justice from the position of the Catholic Church. This ad unfortunately really presents a false choice, you either have to care for the woman or you have to care for the child, and we need to make sure we’re caring and loving them both.”
Catholics for Choice did not respond to requests for comment.