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On Eve of March for Life, Catholic Women Call for Better Public Conversations about Abortion & Reproductive Justice


Thursday, January 19, 2023


Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, (540) 280-3393 

John Gehring, jgehring@faithinpubliclife.org, (410) 302-3792

On Eve of March for Life, Catholic Women Call for Better Public Conversations about Abortion & Reproductive Justice

Washington, D.C. — In a video series launched today by Faith in Public Life — Listening to Catholic Women: A Deeper Conversation about Abortion & Reproductive Justice — Catholic women are sharing personal stories about how their faith and lived experiences inspire them to speak out in support of public conversations that better reflect the complexity of these issues. 

The videos are being released as the annual March for Life takes place in Washington, D.C. on Friday (Jan 20). This year’s event is the first since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a legal right to an abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Mollie Wilson O’Reilly, a mother of four children who experienced two miscarriages, is featured in the videos.

“My survival depended on the availability of a doctor who was able and willing to perform an abortion procedure,” said O’Reilly.  “It was coming out of that experience that I realized in a really personal way how inadequate the pro-life framework was for situations like mine. We need to work for a better conversation about abortion and reproductive justice because the slogans and the shorthand that we have all relied on for so long obscure the realities of women’s experiences.” 

Jeanné Lewis, Interim CEO at Faith in Public Life, shared her perspective as a Black Catholic who draws inspiration from Catholic social teaching and sees reproductive justice as part of a broader framework that includes racial equity, democracy protection, economic justice and comprehensive support for women and families.  

“The reproductive justice movement resonates with me as a Catholic because it is holistic,” Lewis said. “It focuses on the dignity of people to choose to have children and also to have the right to raise the children they do have in safe and healthy communities. We need to think more holistically about women’s health — our physical, mental and reproductive health —- and look at what type of society and what priorities actually support women and families having healthy lives.”

Alannah Boyle, a 26-year-old Catholic, emphasized the need for respectful dialogue and reaching out to welcome people into hard conversations.

“It’s important that we build a bigger table — especially in faith spaces — to have these challenging conversations. When we limit who is welcome into spaces to have these conversations, we’re limiting the coalition we’re able to build. It’s important that Catholic women of all walks of life continue to have these conversations privately and publicly because that is how we raise education and bring more people to the table.”

The full videos can be viewed here

Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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