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BISHOPS’ SPOKESWOMAN DENOUNCES MISLEADING ATTACKS ON PRO-LIFERS, PRIESTS FOR LIFE

April 25, 2001

WASHINGTON—Cathleen Cleaver, director of planning and information for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, denounced "misleading, insulting and inflammatory" remarks about the pro-life community made by a state legislator.

In a letter to New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman, Ms. Cleaver wrote:

"You urge supporters of abortion to participate in a protest rally against a ceremony, sponsored by the National Right to Life Committee, during which Father (Frank) Pavone (National Director of Priests for Life) will receive an award…However, I am concerned about remarks you make regarding not just Father Pavone but, by extension, others in the pro-life community that con only be described as misleading, insulting and inflammatory."

"The mainstream pro-life movement, representing millions of Americans -- male and female, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, religious members and those with no religious affiliation at all -- have been outspoken in their rejection of violence and in condemning the actions of those who would resort to murder in the name of pro-life. We have repeatedly, publicly stated, and firmly hold, that to resort to violence makes a mockery of the core beliefs of the pro-life movement," Ms. Cleaver said.

"To suggest that the ‘real intentions’ of the millions of Americans who oppose abortion are to endorse the murder of abortionists…is similar to saying the murderous actions of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, are representative of the real intentions of environmental activists," she continued.

"The pro-life movement, the Catholic Church, and certainly Fr. Pavone unambiguously reject all violence in opposition to abortion," Ms. Cleaver continued. "Contrary to your suggestions, our real intention is that all turn away from violence as a means to address our nation’s problems, and that includes violence against our unborn brothers and sisters."

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