by Steven Ertelt
February 20, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The wheel in the pro-abortion movement continues to turn as the old guard leadership retires and paves the way for a new set of faces leading the debate to keep abortion legal. In the next couple of weeks, Frances Kissling, is stepping down as president of Catholics for a Free Choice.
The group is considered heretical by any Catholic parishioner who backs the Church’s position against abortion and has been a thorn in the side of those trying to uphold pro-life laws of countries across the world.
Kissling started her abortion advocacy before the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade and she directed one of the nation’s first abortion businesses in New York City in 1970. She later went on to found and head the National Abortion Federation, a trade group for abortion centers.
But Kissling became the most well known for her time as the director of the "anti-Catholic" Catholic group and spearheaded a fight to get the Vatican kicked out of the United Nations.
Lately, Kissling has been trying to reform the pro-abortion movement by getting it to focus on building common ground with pro-life organizations. That means trying to get pro-life advocates to buy into promoting birth control and the morning after pill.
She mentioned that shift in a statement LifeNews.com obtained about her decision to retire.
“I have never shied away from controversy or speaking my mind," Kissling said.
"[B]ut I deeply believe the next years in reproductive rights politics must be a time when we build bridges between those who are pro-choice and those who are pro-life," she added. "Ending the abortion wars is the task of those of us who have fought them.”
Ironically that shift, which itself produced fissures in the pro-abortion movement, came at a time when she took a divergent view from another top pro-abortion group on a bill in Congress to tell women of the pain their babies feel during an abortion.
Kissling called the bill "biased" and said it was "designed to send an emotional message to discourage women from having abortions and to make them feel guilty."
She tangled with NARAL then and also with the group over an ad it ran suggesting that then Supreme Court nominee John Roberts favored abortion violence. Kissling indicated she was "deeply upset and offended" by the ad and called it "far too intemperate and far too personal."
But the group targeted pro-life advocates as well.
In 2004, CFFC filed IRS complaints against leading Catholic groups saying they were violating their non-profit tax status by urging the defeat of candidates who back abortion.
Kissling will be honored at a tribute on March 2 in Washington that will feature a who’s who of the abortion advocacy community.
Ironically, another member of the pro-abortion old guard will head up the gala — former NARAL president Kate Michelman.
“This event is very exciting," she said, echoing the sentiments of pro-life advocates, but for different reasons. "It will bring together hundreds of the most significant actors in the struggle for reproductive rights from more than 20 countries.”
Looking ahead, Navarro-Aranguren, the chair of CFFC’s board of directors, said the group has named executive vice president Jon O’Brien as its new president.
"He will not just continue what is great about CFFC, but will also be a force in the church and society for women’s reproductive health and rights," she said.