Joint Statement on Reproductive Rights by Opposing Sides

Note: The following statement is the result of several years of dialogue between Fr. Frank Pavone and Bill Baird. For supplementary comments on the statement, click here.

A) Disrespect for people with opposing views on the serious questions of abortion and birth control is unwarranted. The divisions in our pluralistic society must be addressed with mutual respect to prevent any deliberate insult or offense to any individual or group.

On February 15, 1978, this issue of respect was so important that Cardinal James A. Hickey, (then bishop) of Cleveland, Ohio released the following statement to the media: "After meeting with Bill Baird…We call upon all involved in the pro-life movement…to avoid inflammatory rhetoric…and to maintain an attitude that is always respectful of life."

We call upon people on both sides of the issue to avoid disrespectful language.

B) Respect for those who disagree with us encourages dialogue. Dialogue involves respectfully listening to another's experiences, insights, and reasons for their beliefs. Respectful dialogue, while not expecting either party to compromise his or her beliefs, can lessen or stop dangerous, dehumanizing assumptions about those on the opposite side of this issue.

We believe that regular meetings, including social ones, between opposing sides should be conducted at least once per month to encourage people to form civil relationships.

C) This respect includes several important obligations, such as the duty to not misrepresent the views and activities of another person or group, or to maliciously harm their reputation. Any assertion about another's activities or positions should be made only after a careful effort to obtain the facts and a sincere willingness to understand their point of view. Extreme care must be taken not to misrepresent scientific or other facts and one must be responsible to document his or her statements from reliable sources.

Bill Baird, Director, Pro Choice League, Inc.

Joni Scott, Assoc. Dir., Pro Choice League, Inc. 

Rev. Frank Pavone, Director, Priests for Life

Janet A. Morana, Assoc. Dir., Priests for Life

June, 2002

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: