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USCCB official: ‘How to reduce abortions’

February 25, 2013

Writing for The Washington Post, an official of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities rued the “bait and switch” surrounding discussions on abortion with Obama administration officials.

“In President Obama’s first term, there was a brief shining moment when people with various views on abortion’s legality thought they might agree on some ways to reduce abortions,” recalled Richard Doerflinger. “That effort quickly broke down.”

“A key discussion was among those invited to advise the new administration’s faith-based office,” he continued. “But pro-life participants soon found what they saw as a bait-and-switch. Pro-choice participants, joined by White House staff, were not willing to speak of ‘reducing abortions.’ Instead they wanted to ‘reduce the need for abortion’ -- that is, reduce unintended pregnancies, chiefly through expanded contraceptive programs.”

After discussing the failures of contraceptive programs, Doerflinger proposed five approaches with wide popular support [that] could reduce abortion”: “fight poverty,” “end publicly-funded abortions,” “pass laws regulating the abortion industry,” “uphold strong marriages,” and “promote ‘sexual risk avoidance’ for the young.”

Doerflinger concluded:

This is an ambitious agenda but most Americans can be shown to support each aspect of it. Those most unlikely to support it are the representatives of “abortion rights” groups, who now speak of abortion being ”safe and legal” (not “safe, legal and rare”) and are even abandoning talk of “choice” in favor of pushing for maximum “access” to abortion. In other words, they don’t want to reduce abortions. But most of us still do.


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