Press Releases

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Latina Advocates Respond to Pope’s Comments on Abortion

Press Release
loretta Kane, Camino Public Relations Phone: 917.410.7242 Email:

Remarks “Fall short in reflecting the realities of women’s lives”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) responds to comments from Pope Francis allowing Catholic priests "discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it" during the Vatican’s upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, which begins December 8.​

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, issued the following statement:​

“What is significant here is that the Pope, as a faith leader for millions, recognizes the need to talk about abortion, which one in three women will experience in her lifetime. Yet these comments fall short in reflecting the realities of women’s lives, and the viewpoints of many Catholics. Despite ongoing prohibition by church doctrine, Catholic Latinas support access to reproductive healthcare, with 90% of married Catholic Latinas using a modern form of contraception and a majority of Latino/a voters—including many Catholics, supporting access to safe and legal abortion services.​

“Moreover, these statements perpetuate the notion that a person who has ended a pregnancy must be ashamed, and contributes to culturally pervasive and deeply harmful abortion stigma. As an organization committed to Latina health and reproductive justice, we reject any attempt to impose judgement or shame on someone based on deeply personal decisions about health, pregnancy, and whether to become a parent.

“We’re glad to see a conversation about abortion happening within faith communities—but the focus should be on respect and support for those who end a pregnancy, not the same old politics of shame and stigma.”


The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.