Washington (AP) -- A group of politically active Roman Catholic priests is spending $250,000 to buy cable television advertisements urging people to support anti-abortion candidates. The ads, which began airing Monday, say that if public officials "can't respect the life of a little baby how are they supposed to respect yours."
Priests for Life, a New York-based organization is running ads in Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
The ads do not mention any candidates by name nor were they designed to target specific races, said the Rev. Frank Pavone, the group's president. "We are trying to reach target populations of Catholics in a cost effective way," he said. We've heard from politicians in a general way thanking us for our positions but we have not talked to them about specific races."
Pavone said he has met with Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush "very briefly" but his request for a meeting with Democratic nominee Al Gore was turned down. Pavone said the group did meet with President Clinton's and Gore's staffers several times to discuss issues, including the administration's opposition to a ban on the late-term procedure that opponents call "partial birth" abortion.
The ads will air through Friday and the group will buy ads in other markets between now and the Nov. 7 election, Pavone said. They will spend up to a $1 million on their overall ad purchase.
The group also ran a full-page ad in Monday's editions of USA Today linking the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion to an increase in other forms of violence. They cite statistics showing that child abuse, violent crime, and euthanasia have all increased since abortion was legalized.
Pavone said people who favor abortion are more likely to have less respect for the sanctity of human life.