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,
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
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
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
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