Report Reveals Priests for Life's Increasing Political Influence

Institute for Democracy Studies Documents Group's Ties to Extremists



Apr 23, 2001, 01:00 ET from Institute for Democracy Studies

    NEW YORK, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- "Priests for
 Life say they oppose violence, but their actions send a different message,"
 said Alfred Ross, president of the Institute for Democracy Studies.  According
 to a new report issued by the New York-based Institute for Democracy Studies
 (IDS), Priests for Life, the Vatican-supported anti-choice organization, is
 poised to seize a leading role within the U.S. antiabortion movement.  The
 head of Priests for Life, Fr. Frank Pavone, will be receiving the National
 Right to Life Committee's (NRLC) highest honor, the Proudly Pro-Life Award, at
 a black-tie gala event at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  Pro-choice
 activists intend to protest outside the event.
     IDS reports that while Pavone presents a moderate face to the public, he
 and his organization endorse illegal activities and are linked to extreme
 elements in the antichoice movement.  Pavone explicitly justifies criminal
 trespass against abortion clinics and blockades of clinic doors, and has been
 vocally supportive of the militant, extreme right-wing Pro-Life Action League
 (PLAL).  Recently, Priests for Life launched a $12 million national media
 campaign to restrict the right to abortion.
     NRLC's decision to give Pavone the Proudly Pro-Life Award signals his
 ascending power and influence within the antiabortion movement.  "We condemn
 the National Right to Life Committee's decision to honor Pavone for promoting
 criminal acts and supporting extremists," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the
 Feminist Majority Foundation.  "It's just one more example of the true nature
 of the anti-choice movement's war against American women."
     "Priests for Life serve as a bridge between the highest levels of the
 anti-choice movement and the extremist foot soldiers on the ground," added
 Alfred Ross.
     The recent arrest of James Kopp, alleged killer of Buffalo abortion
 provider Dr. Barnett Slepian, has prompted many in the anti-choice movement to
 attempt to publicly distance themselves from such acts.  However, national
 pro-choice leaders and abortion providers on the front-lines argue that
 despite such condemnations, the rhetoric and activities of anti-choice groups
 like Priests for Life have the effect of encouraging extremist violence.
     Following the 1995 murder of two receptionists at abortion clinics in
 Brookline, Massachusetts, Cardinal Bernard Law called for a moratorium on
 sidewalk demonstrations and protests at abortion clinics.  Fr. Pavone
 denounced the moratorium and publicly declared, "(W)e need to continue being
 on the streets.  To retreat ... would be a mistake."
     For more information or to receive an advance copy of the Institute for
 Democracy Studies report, "Priests for Life: A New Era of Antiabortion
 Activism," contact Lee Cokorinos at 212-423-9237 or
 leecokorinos@institutefordemocracy.org .
 
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SOURCE Institute for Democracy Studies
    NEW YORK, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- "Priests for
 Life say they oppose violence, but their actions send a different message,"
 said Alfred Ross, president of the Institute for Democracy Studies.  According
 to a new report issued by the New York-based Institute for Democracy Studies
 (IDS), Priests for Life, the Vatican-supported anti-choice organization, is
 poised to seize a leading role within the U.S. antiabortion movement.  The
 head of Priests for Life, Fr. Frank Pavone, will be receiving the National
 Right to Life Committee's (NRLC) highest honor, the Proudly Pro-Life Award, at
 a black-tie gala event at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  Pro-choice
 activists intend to protest outside the event.
     IDS reports that while Pavone presents a moderate face to the public, he
 and his organization endorse illegal activities and are linked to extreme
 elements in the antichoice movement.  Pavone explicitly justifies criminal
 trespass against abortion clinics and blockades of clinic doors, and has been
 vocally supportive of the militant, extreme right-wing Pro-Life Action League
 (PLAL).  Recently, Priests for Life launched a $12 million national media
 campaign to restrict the right to abortion.
     NRLC's decision to give Pavone the Proudly Pro-Life Award signals his
 ascending power and influence within the antiabortion movement.  "We condemn
 the National Right to Life Committee's decision to honor Pavone for promoting
 criminal acts and supporting extremists," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the
 Feminist Majority Foundation.  "It's just one more example of the true nature
 of the anti-choice movement's war against American women."
     "Priests for Life serve as a bridge between the highest levels of the
 anti-choice movement and the extremist foot soldiers on the ground," added
 Alfred Ross.
     The recent arrest of James Kopp, alleged killer of Buffalo abortion
 provider Dr. Barnett Slepian, has prompted many in the anti-choice movement to
 attempt to publicly distance themselves from such acts.  However, national
 pro-choice leaders and abortion providers on the front-lines argue that
 despite such condemnations, the rhetoric and activities of anti-choice groups
 like Priests for Life have the effect of encouraging extremist violence.
     Following the 1995 murder of two receptionists at abortion clinics in
 Brookline, Massachusetts, Cardinal Bernard Law called for a moratorium on
 sidewalk demonstrations and protests at abortion clinics.  Fr. Pavone
 denounced the moratorium and publicly declared, "(W)e need to continue being
 on the streets.  To retreat ... would be a mistake."
     For more information or to receive an advance copy of the Institute for
 Democracy Studies report, "Priests for Life: A New Era of Antiabortion
 Activism," contact Lee Cokorinos at 212-423-9237 or
 leecokorinos@institutefordemocracy.org .
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X58447546
 
 SOURCE  Institute for Democracy Studies