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National priest group supports
local abortion opponents

By Charlotte Graham

Clarion-Ledger Religion Writer

September 8, 1996

The director of a national organization of priests was in Jackson on Monday to provide strategy and support for local groups opposed to abortion.

"We are here to sound the alarm and to help people understand that pro-life is not going away," said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life in Port Chester, N.Y.

"It's an issue that's been around for years, but it's not an old issue," he said. "It's a new issue every 20 seconds as babies are destroyed."

An activist for 20 years, the 37- year-old Pavone conducts seminars for the clergy and anti-abortion organizations. He travels internationally preaching against abortion and euthanasia, and encourages other priests to do the same.

Pavone spoke against the Food and Drug Administration's pending approval of the RU-486 abortion pill that is widely available outside the United States, euthanasia and partial-birth abortion. He encouraged the Jackson Diocese to take a stance against President Clinton's recent veto of the partial-birth abortion ban.

In protest of Clinton's veto, the Roman Catholic Church has initiated a Project Life postcard campaign. Marcy Anderson of Jackson said 39,000 postcards with pre-printed opposition statements have been mailed to 74 parishes and missions in the Jackson Diocese.

Parishioners, in turn, sign the cards and mail them to their congressmen in Washington.

Nationally, more than 10 million cards have been sent to Washington, said Anderson.

Sally Holt of Jackson, spokeswoman for Pro-Choice Mississippi, said women do not select partial-birth abortions, also called late term abortions. "This is done for medical reasons. In a lot of cases the babies are deformed ... it's a private thing between the mother, doctor and husband.

"Most families today would be outraged with people trying to come in and tell them what to do," she said, referring to the church's postcard campaign.

Pavone said it is important for the Christian church to voice its beliefs. He said the church can make a difference.

"We don't have a right to put people to death," Pavone said. "The (Christian) church is the one to rise up and say that this is wrong."

He said the best way clergy can deal with the anti-abortion issue is through preaching.

"They should make scriptural connections," Pavone said. "I would also encourage them to make known other alternatives to abortion. Education is important."

Pavone's visit to Jackson was sponsored by Jackson Right to Life members Ned Walsh and Tanya Britton.

The director of a national organization of priests was in Jackson on Monday to provide strategy and support for local groups opposed to abortion.

"We are here to sound the alarm and to help people understand that pro-life is not going away," said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life in Port Chester, N.Y.

"It's an issue that's been around for years, but it's not an old issue," he said. "It's a new issue every 20 seconds as babies are destroyed."

An activist for 20 years, the 37- year-old Pavone conducts seminars for the clergy and anti-abortion organizations. He travels internationally preaching against abortion and euthanasia, and encourages other priests to do the same.

Pavone spoke against the Food and Drug Administration's pending approval of the RU-486 abortion pill that is widely available outside the United States, euthanasia and partial-birth abortion. He encouraged the Jackson Diocese to take a stance against President Clinton's recent veto of the partial-birth abortion ban.

In protest of Clinton's veto, the Roman Catholic Church has initiated a Project Life postcard campaign. Marcy Anderson of Jackson said 39,000 postcards with pre-printed opposition statements have been mailed to 74 parishes and missions in the Jackson Diocese.

Parishioners, in turn, sign the cards and mail them to their congressmen in Washington.

Nationally, more than 10 million cards have been sent to Washington, said Anderson.

Sally Holt of Jackson, spokeswoman for Pro-Choice Mississippi, said women do not select partial-birth abortions, also called late term abortions. "This is done for medical reasons. In a lot of cases the babies are deformed ... it's a private thing between the mother, doctor and husband.

"Most families today would be outraged with people trying to come in and tell them what to do," she said, referring to the church's postcard campaign.

Pavone said it is important for the Christian church to voice its beliefs. He said the church can make a difference.

"We don't have a right to put people to death," Pavone said. "The (Christian) church is the one to rise up and say that this is wrong."

He said the best way clergy can deal with the anti-abortion issue is through preaching.

"They should make scriptural connections," Pavone said. "I would also encourage them to make known other alternatives to abortion. Education is important."

Pavone's visit to Jackson was sponsored by Jackson Right to Life members Ned Walsh and Tanya Britton.

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